AFTER a nine-month lay-off, Kilcullen’s Dennis Hogan got his professional boxing career back on track Down Under.
Now a pro in Australia, The Hurricane recorded the 12th win of his career over Thailand’s Khomkaew Sithsaithong.
“I couldn’t wait to get back in, it was a great feeling, it was just brilliant to get back inside the ring,” said Hogan after his second round knock-out win.
Hogan suffered a neck injury, one that all boxers fear, and had to come home to Ireland for an operation in February. It came at a time when Hogan was really starting to make progress in Australia.
“It was frustrating, we felt like we lost a lot of momentum there. We had some fights lined up and we were looking to get some title fights signed up and stuff but I just took all the positives from the eight months off. I got back fresh as ever,” he said.
Even after coming back from the operation, the injury played on his mind for some time.
“I was just a little cautious at the start, I was constantly thinking of it. The neck can be a fairly stiff muscle at the best of times. I was only back sparring a couple of weeks when we both crashed into the ropes and both our bodies slammed into my neck. That was the point where I was either ready or I wasn’t and it was lucky enough I was ready. I’ve been punched on it now full on and it held up perfectly, I couldn’t ask for more recovery wise,” said Hogan.
After such a substantial gap between fights, Hogan was just glad to be able to step through the ropes, experience the feeling of having his hand raised as a winner and most importantly of all, to preserve his 100 per cent record.
“The fight went really well. I was very strong, very fresh. But even when I wasn’t sparring I kept training the whole time, kept fit and did whatever the surgeon would let me do. Five weeks before the fight I was let back sparring so I got everything crammed into that period of time. It showed on the night with a second round knockout,” he said.
“I missed the feeling of performing in front of a crowd. I’m myself again, it was extra special to have my brother Tristan and his wife Rachel there but people were flying from all over to get to the fight. My father came over from New Zealand, it was just a brilliant night and it was great to get back on track. I’m looking to build on that for the next fight.”
Hogan has built up a group of hard core supporters Down Under but is also thankful for the support he receives from his home town of Kilcullen.
“I’ve great support here and also back home and that really spurs me on. I heard there were posters up around Kilcullen and even a sign up at the credit union saying best of luck. All that sort of stuff motivates and inspires me, it’s brilliant,” he said.
Now that he is back to full fitness, Hogan intends to be as busy inside the ring as he was before his injury.
“They only announced on the night that there will be another fight night in Brisbane in five weeks time. It’s full steam ahead for that. I had a week off there and relaxed a bit but we’re looking at fighting on 20 July again. We’re just trying to find an opponent at the moment,” he said.
“I had 12 pro fights in 15 months before I was injured so I think that was a bit of record. I am looking to catch up big time, there is still another six months left in this year and I just want to get as many fights as I can and keep climbing those rankings. I’m ranked second on Boxrec in Australia at the minute, that’s not bad considering I was out for all that time. There’s a big title fight or two in the making for this year. I think I showed in the last fight that all guns are blazing and it’s just about getting those fights locked in.”