WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn says there is no reason Hogan can’t emulate his performance when he ripped the world championship belt from the waist of eight-division world champion and pound-for-pound stalwart Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last July.
“Dennis impresses me with his work ethic and his strength as a boxer,” says Horn, who trains alongside “The Hurricane” at coach Glenn Rushton’s Stretton Boxing Club.
“He can definitely emulate what I have done, being ranked number six himself.
“Dennis just needs to fight hard and win every round as it goes. Hard work and belief was my key to success.
“It is extremely important to have a strong team behind you who you can trust.”
But first Hogan is going to have to get past world number seven Yuki Nonaka from Japan who he faces in a decider for the number two spot at the Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane on 14 October.
“Nonaka is a slick, elusive counterpuncher, but I’m used to that style,” says Hogan, who has a professional record of 25-1-1 with 7 knockouts. “I do very well against guys like that so I’m very confident going in.
“As an amateur I was light heavyweight champion of Ireland so I got used to boxing guys taller than me. It’s all about nullifying him, frustrating him, breaking him down and making him do what we want him to do, then we’ll catch him.”
Nonaka comes highly credentialed and is ranked in the top 15 of all four major sanctioning bodies. The Osaka southpaw is undefeated in eight years but he has never fought outside of his native Japan.
“This is one of the biggest sporting events to be held in Australia this year and the second biggest fight behind only Horn and Pacquiao,” says Paul Keegan of DDP Sports Management who are promoting the event.
“We want to bring arena style boxing back to Australia and encourage all sports fans to get along to see what all the hype is all about.
“Dennis is set to be Australia’s next world champ and we want to give Aussie sports fans the chance to see this kid fight live and be part of his journey.”
Hogan says that he has left no stone unturned in his preparation and is looking forward to doing his fans across two countries proud.
“I’ll have youth on my side, I’ll have aggression on my side and I’ll be ready to go all out for the full ten rounds,” says Hogan.
The 32-year-old Hogan moved to Brisbane from Kildare, Ireland seven years ago to pursue a professional boxing career when the Irish economy was tanking due to the fallout from the global financial crisis.
DENNIS HOGAN QUOTES
On training at the Stretton Boxing Club: “We know all the ingredients are there, it’s just about doing everything that we need to do. The gym is structured really well, it’s a really good set-up. You manage to get all the stuff done in a good way and it’s actually enjoyable going up there to train, even though it’s tough work. You can go years smashing out sessions and you very rarely get to see things changing because of the intense nature of the work. But when you get to see big changes on a regular basis and stuff that really works to your advantage when you’re in the ring, you start to realise this stuff is working. It gives you a lot of confidence and more motivation to come back and do it all again.”
On his fight with Jack Culcay for the WBA world title: “I learned a lot about what happens when you’re the away fighter. And what that means is that you can’t leave anything to chance. You have to make sure every little thing is spot on. Even if you’re winning the rounds you can’t relax for a second, you’ve got to stay on for the whole lot and you can’t even give those guys an inch. I used to give people an inch and now I’m working on not giving them nothing. That fact that I’ve been there and done that, now I know I can be there and win that.”
On his Australian and Irish supporter base: “In this fight I’m going to make a statement. And after this people are going to know we mean business. After this I look forward to gaining more momentum with the crowd and hopefully getting more Queenslanders and Aussies behind me, along with the Irish. I have great support from the Irish community here and just want everyone to come together and support me, together we can make it work. I will be the world champion and with the support of those people, it’s only going to help.”
On the keys to success: “If you believe in yourself and keep pushing yourself to keep going, good things will come to you. I really believe that. There were days when you didn’t know whether you were national level, regional level or world level. It seems like it’s so far away, the goal of being world champion. But I kept saying to myself ‘I’m going to be world champion and I’m going to do whatever it takes to get there’. And I showed up every day and put in the work and here I am. I’m on the cusp of it now, I’ve already had a world title fight, I’m close to having one again and I’m here to put it right.”
On a world title shot in Australia: “If we can bring that a world title fight here and in some way replicate the atmosphere and the crowd that Jeff Horn had for his fight with Manny Pacquiao, it would just be phenomenal. It would be phenomenal for me, it would be phenomenal for the fans, and it would phenomenal for the country. It would really bring big time boxing back here. I know it was a dream of Jeff’s before, a dream of Glenn’s, and I want to be a part of that too. That’s another goal of mine too, to make that happen. I’m under no illusion that I have to put in a big performance here if I want to get the support needed to bring a world title fight to Brisbane.”
On moving to Australia: “I boxed on the Ireland amateur team for a few years and travelled the world with them. We came through Brisbane and I met a guy here who had a professional set up and stuff, so three years after that I was starting to think about going pro. Back then I had a bit of an offer from Boston and I had an offer from here. I remembered being here and it was beautiful and I had a cousin living here as well. I thought about the beautiful weather, the beautiful people here, and I just said ‘you know what, I’ll go back there and try that’. I thought it might only be for a year or something, but I just loved it here, I just loved it here and decided to stay. And even when I have had training camps and in Miami and Florida I kept coming back because I love it here.”
(Image courtesy of DDP Sports Management)