Unique Insight: Neds Sits Down with Dennis Hogan

Brisbane will host another major Boxing card on Saturday night as world number 2 in the Super Welterweight division Dennis Hogan goes toe-to-toe with world number 3 Jimmy Kelly at the Convention Centre.

Hogan fights out of Glenn Rushton’s Stretton Gym, which currently boasts some of the country’s best fighters including WBO Welterweight World Champion Jeff Horn, who famously defeated Manny Pacquiao by unanimous decision in July last year.

With WBO Super Welterweight Champion Sadam Ali set to defend his title against England’s Liam Smith in New York next month, Saturday night’s fight between Hogan and Kelly is essentially a world title eliminator.

To gain the best possible insight into the crucial fight, we sat down with Hogan ahead of his meeting with Kelly.

We’re only days away from fight night Dennis, how well has your training and preparation come together?

Hogan: “It’s been excellent, everything has fallen into place lovely and I couldn’t have asked for a better camp. The way I’m feeling right now, it couldn’t be better so I’m really looking forward to getting in there on Saturday night.

What happens from here on in, is it just light duties and media calls or is it still high-intensity into Saturday night?

Hogan: “With the likes of training, we’ve cut back the volume and it’s all high intensity. It’s just sharpening the tools and getting ready to go, it’s making weight and making sure everything is right. At this point of the game, all the hard work is done and it’s just about really not doing anything wrong – getting everything right.

You enter this fight off the back of a comprehensive victory over Yuki Nonaka, will it be similar tactics against Jimmy Kelly or are you bringing something else on Saturday?

Hogan: “There’s a lot more involved. The last camp was good, but it wasn’t anything near this one. We’ve been a lot more intricate in it and we’ve seen a lot more stuff we can work on. It’s all coming off really well. In terms of the last camp, we had a bit of injury in there too and we lost out on a few spars, but this time nothing like that. This time full on and ready to go. We’ll be seeing a bigger win over Jimmy Kelly.

You obviously fight out of Glenn Rushton’s gym, which has experienced plenty of success recently to say the least. How has his influence and that of Jeff Horn helped you prepare for this fight?

Hogan: “You couldn’t ask for anything better, really. You’ve got the man who orchestrated the plan to beat Manny Pacquiao and you’ve got the man who went and did it. These are guys, as if you said, that were key elements of my preparation. When you’re up there mixing it with those guys and doing it day in, day out it becomes normal at that level and it might even be a step back to fight Jimmy.

Jimmy Kelly has had plenty to say in the build up to this fight about himself and his chances, as well what he makes of you as an opponent. What do you make of him and do you think he’s up to a fight of this calibre?

Hogan: “I don’t know if he is, but to be honest he’s just done a lot of talking. I feel like their game plan is to get under my skin. It hasn’t worked in the slightest and it’s going to go bad for him on the day because if anything, they’ve fuelled me to want to stop him even more; to want to put more energy into that. Nothing has got under my skin, I just look and what they’re saying and I’m like, that kind of thing wouldn’t be something I’d be going around and doing. I think that good things happen to good people and vice versa, so we’ll see what happens on the night.

Moving forward, Sadam Ali and Liam Smith will square-off for the World Title next month – how do you think that will play out and would you prefer to be progressing to a fight with either in particular?

Hogan: “I did originally think that Liam Smith is the better option for me as I believe my footwork could really obviously get a good win against him. I didn’t really see a lot of Sadam Ali before, but I did see him fight a little bit in America. To be honest with you, they’re both good fighters but when they both come together, I don’t really care who would win it, in terms of fighting me next. I think maybe I would prefer Smith from what I said before and because maybe, it would be easier to get a fight with him because he’s not the golden boy. We would see, but I’d be happy for anyone to win, in fairness.

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Hogan is currently rated a clear $1.40 favourite to beat Kelly ($2.85) in Saturday night’s main event

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