TOKYO – Australia-based Irish southpaw TJ Doheny, 26-4 (20 KOs), kept alive hopes of facing Naoya Inoue by dismantling Bryl Bayogos, 7-0-1 (2 KOs), before overwhelming him in round four.

The talk was beforehand that a win over Filipino Bayogos would earn Doheny a fight with top of the bill star Inoue and the Irishman is already respected here, following previous wins over Ryosuke Iwasa, Kazuko Nakajima and unbeaten prospect Japhethlee Llamido, whom he stunned in a round last October.

This victory did his campaign for Inoue no harm. 

The opening exchanges were messy as Doheny tried to find a rhythm.

Bayogos attempted to keep things simple and at range, fending Doheny off with the jab and trying to discourage him with the right.

Doheny remained the aggressor in round two, trying to land his big left hand. He worked the body in the third, but stumbled after being caught flat-footed by a left hook only to land a good left of his own as the session progressed. 

Things changed dramatically in the third with Bayogos down twice from bodyshots. Each time, he was applauded for bravely standing by the fans in an already nearly full Tokyo Dome, but only that courage saw him survive the session. 

Doheny crashed home three consecutive left hands near the start of the fourth and another halfway through the session that drew gasps from the now-expectant audience.

It was almost all one-way traffic, with Bayogos landing only sparing single shots that neither put a dent in Doheny nor slowed him down. Near the end of the round, Doheny broke through with clubbing left and right hooks and, as Bayogos slowly dropped to the canvas, his corner indicated to the referee that they wanted him withdrawn, and it was all over.

This show-opener at the Tokyo Dome ahead of Naoya Inoue vs. Luis Nery had been scheduled for eight. Doheny is the WBO No. 3, No. 8 with the IBF and 12 with the WBC.