WITH each passing performance, unbeaten light middleweight standout Dennis Hogan keeps getting better and better.
This time, Hogan left former undefeated kickboxing convert Steve Moxon swinging into the Melbourne winter night as he appeared to comfortably cruise to his nineteenth win, with the lone detractor forming as judge Anthony Hibbs – who turned in a laughable 118-111 scorecard for Moxon – that offered the only negative on an otherwise fine performance.
How Hibbs managed to see that many rounds in Moxon’s favour remains to be seen, luckily, for the credibility of the remaining judges there were no such mistakes, with judges Tony Marretta calling it 116-113 as well as Wayne Ashdown, who also gave a similar verdict for Hogan at 115-113.
The win secured Hogan the inaugural WBA Oceania light middleweight title, a new affiliate regional body of the WBA, which should almost certainly give Hogan a top fifteen world rating as a light middleweight.
“Steve came like a bull, like we thought he would. I was able to weather the storm pretty good, he got off some good shots.” said Hogan post-fight in an exclusive interview with Aus-Boxing. “But just like my determination to win, I took those shots well.”
“I nearly died when one of them gave it to him, seven rounds up, I thought I’m never boxing here no more. I won the fight, I won it well.”
Moxon, 26, was widely considered to be one of the toughest tests Hogan had faced for a long time.
Unlike Hogan, Moxon (now 5-1, 4 KOs) has genuine one-punch knockout power and because of that variable alone, many saw this as a potentially close fought contest. It may have taken Hogan several rounds to establish his distance – but once that happened – the fight was essentially won.
“It reminded me back in the day when I was a light heavyweight, he hit me with that kind of strength. But I wore them with no problem, which is exciting for the future.”
“As the fight went on I just started to find my rhythm and started to land the shots I wanted to, Moxon came in spells but I was able to weather the storm.” he continued. “I feel he won one round for sure, maybe two rounds, but that’s all.”
Hogan’s footwork and counter punching ability was the difference all night long, as he was able to land short hooks on the inside when Moxon closed the distance, as well as counter right hands over Moxon’s jab. Simply put, Hogan was able to consistently get out of the way before Moxon was able to respond with any significance.
While the Brisbane-based Irishman (now 19-0-1, 7 KOs) used great defence and footwork to avoid Moxon’s overhand rights and occasional left hooks, he wasn’t scared to fight in the trenches, when the opportunity arose.
“There is a lot I can take from the fight too, fighting a war machine like Steve. Credit to Steve, he said what he had to say to get the fight,” Hogan explained. “He did what he had to do within the fight and I couldn’t really box the way I wanted to to showcase my skills. I was being very careful with power like that.”
Aus-Boxing understands that Hogan will make his US debut next month, on the undercard of fellow stablemate Jarrod Fletcher, who will challenge big-punching American Danny Jacobs for the ‘regular’ version of the WBA middleweight title from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
“We have a big announcement on Tuesday,” said Hogan in closing. “We’re going to America.”
AFTER multiple title challenges well above her ideal weight class, Queensland’s ‘Shotgun’ Shannon O’Connell picked up the vacant WIBA super bantamweight title with a hard fought ten round unanimous decision over durable Kiwi Bronwyn Wylie.
O’Connell (now 10-3, 5 KOs) failed to record a knockout for the fifth time as a professional – but was highly impressive throughout – showing a full kit of punches as she scored a virtual shutout over the resistant Wylie (now 3-3).
The Brisbane-based O’Connell consistently outscored Wylie in most of the exchanges, despite failing to seriously stun her Kiwi opponent, who was fighting for the first time in two years. At the conclusion of ten rounds, O’Connell was crowned victorious by scores of 100-90, 100-91 and 99-91 in a performance that was much more technically impressive than it was exciting, which says something in itself.
“It was hard, from the first round I got hit with a head clash. I’ve trained hard, I’ve trained really hard. It was just draining,” said O’Connell post-fight to Aus-Boxing.
“In my head I was underestimating her because it was the first fight in nearly two years in my own weight division,” she continued. “So I guess in my head – I was thinking – I’ve been hit by Di Prazak, I’ve been hit by welterweight fighters, she’s not going to hurt me.”
“Then when I was in there her presence, she was there. It was just as hard of a fight as any other fight that I’ve had.”
O’Connell, 30, who was fighting under the Fightcard Promotions banner for the first time, was methodical early but struggled late due to severe swelling above her left eye, which appeared to be the end result of multiple head clashes.
With the win and WIBA title firmly in her grasp, O’Connell will now hope to continue her ascent to what could be a potential fight against WBC super bantamweight titleholder Alicia Ashley within the next twelve months.
Ashley, 46, is a New York based Jamaican that has made two defences of her title, which she has held for almost three years.
“I’ve won a world title but to me in my mind, I’m not a world champion until I’m number one. This is just part of my climb to the number one spot,” she said. “Before this fight I was number seven, so hopefully this fight will jump me up a couple of spots. Until I’m number one, I won’t be happy.”
“Hopefully, this will open something up sponsorship wise, it’s very hard for the female fighters. Girls don’t get paid what the guys get paid to fight, let alone sponsorship. Girls always put on an entertaining fight, no matter what people say, girls fights are always good.”
“I really wish there was more backing. But I don’t do it for the money, I do it for the love of the sport.”
“I want a WBC world title, I know that Adam (Wilcock) has already been in contact with super bantamweight champ. They have said they will fight me whenever, so we need to make it happen I guess. It might be five fights down the track but eventually I want them all.”
“I want to be the number one in this division.”
Photos: Michael Dugina/Aus-Boxing