KILCULLEN’S Dennis Hogan knows he is just win away from his dream of fighting for a world title when he takes on England’s Jimmy Kelly in Brisbane, Australia on Saturday.
Hogan is ranked as the number two Superwelterweight in the world by WBO and Kelly is at number three and whoever comes through as winner of the fight is likely to the mandatory opponent for whoever wins the world title fight between champion Sadam Ali and challenger Liam Smith on 12 May.
The stakes don’t get much bigger but Hogan has 28 fights behind him as a professional, with just one defeat, and is taking it all in his stride.
“It’s been a massive built up to this and the media has gone off for it but it’s a great thing to see boxing up there among all the other big sports that always get full coverage. We have the magnitude of this fight to thank for all the exposure and media coverage. A big win here on Saturday and I’ll be mandatory for the world title so this is a nice little warm up for what’s ahead,” said the 33 year old.
Hogan has been training alongside people like current world champion Jeff Horn in Stretton Boxing Club in Brisbane and feels he is in the shape of his life. He weighed for the bout on Friday at 69.5kg, slightly below his opponent who weighed in at 69.85kg.
“I have to say the preparation has gone better than expected. Usually you have to deal with a few curve balls, like for example I did rib cartilage damage in the vital stages of my last camp for the fight against Yuki Nonaka but this camp has been spot on and I’ve been hitting some personal best numbers in my sessions. I’m ready for a massive win this weekend,” he said.
Before that fight against Nonaka, Hogan linked up with new promoters and DDP Sports Management, led by long time sponsor and friend of Hogan – Paul Keegan, are putting on a show that means this fight will be one of the sporting highlights in Australia this year.
“DDP sports management have been on the ball and I couldn’t ask for better people to be working with as we head towards winning the world title. The undercard is been touted as the best undercard ever seen in Australia and if that sounds ambitious just jump on and have a look at the quality that I’m privileged to be headlining,” said Hogan.
The fight is broadcast free around the world at http://www.epicentre.tv/events/hogan-v-kelly/, and the estimated 10.30pm fight time on Saturday night in Brisbane means he will be stepping into the ring at around 1.30pm on Saturday afternoon Irish time. Hogan is a big star in Australia but is delighted that so many fans and friends from Ireland have been in touch with him too and he’s pleased the free screening and accessible time mean that all will be able to see him action.
“It’s being broadcast live on Epicentre TV and also on DDP sports management Facebook page for free. It’s good for Ireland too as it will be on a good time Saturday for people to watch. With this fight being for the mandatory position we do expect it will be an all time high. The support from home is unreal, mainly social media but I can definitely get a big sense of having so many people behind me back there that it really is humbling. My dream to defend the world title in the 3 Arena is now within touching distance,” said Hogan.
There has been plenty of trash talk between the two fighters on social media throughout the build up and there was tense stand off between the pair at the weigh in. Kelly, now 25, was beaten in a world title fight by Liam Smith three years ago and seems determined to return to that level but that is what Hogan aspires to as well and he is determined to take his chance.
“Jimmy is tough fighter but we have worked out such a solid game plan for him I know every move he will make in there and I have the answer to not just beat Jimmy but to completely white wash him and go for a finish in the championships rounds. I’m so close now to the world title and I’m like a man possessed to let anything get in the way of attaining it,” said Hogan.
Hogan has been this close to a world title before but since his only defeat, against Jack Culcay world interim title in 2015, he has got his career back on track and he’s now ready to take his chance. He became a father for this time last year too and that is just another motivating factor for him.
“After my sole loss in Germany for the title 2015 I’ve moved heaven and earth to get back to this position and when I get into the next world title fight, just like the fight next week I will be ripping into whoever stands in the other corner. It’s not just my dream but it’s my daughter and family’s future that hang in the balance. I will be the world champion!”