THE lack of external expectations has made the journey towards a second world title attempt all the more enjoyable for Dennis Hogan.
Riding a six fight win-streak, including three consecutive wins over world rated opposition, the Brisbane-based Irishman has enjoyed a confident build-up in his latest world title attempt.
Speaking on an international media conference, Hogan (28-1-1, 7 KOs) recounts the road less travelled.
“It’s a dream of mine my whole life,” said Hogan.
“The last eight years I’ve just narrowed down and I’ve been doing everything possible to make this a reality. The last couple of years I’ve really gave everything.
“I’ve given my heart and soul in my training to make this a reality, and I do believe in a couple of weeks I will make that happen.”
“The hunger I have for this world championship belt is like nothing I’ve ever known before. When I’ve found narrowed in focused on something I really want, I can achieve anything, so I know I can achieve this and get the win.
“I have as good a team around me, we’re ticking all the boxes, and I have nothing but supreme confidence. It means the world to me and my family and my team to lift that belt for them and for myself.”
Despite the aura of invincibility that current surroundings reigning WBO light middleweight titleholder Jaime Munguia (32-0, 26 KOs), Hogan likes his chances.
“You know, every single fighter will do little things here and there that you can exploit,” he explained.
“I mean, even a fighter that doesn’t make many mistakes, there’s still a game plan you can work out to beat that fighter. So without saying too much about whatever holes Munguia may be making, we certainly have developed a game plan to be able to defeat his style.
“I’m always supremely confident in my ability, and the game plan we worked out after Smith has, we’ve been working on that since then.
“Everything that we’ve seen since correlates with that plan that we’ve made. I’ve been ticking the boxes in training and making sure I can execute that plan, and that’s why right now I’m supremely confident I’ll be world champion.”
Given the fast-rise and subsequent crowning of the Mexican firebrand, it’s understandable that the 22-year-old enters the fight as a firm favourite.
However, Munguia’s inexperience at world level and lack of overall grounding will work against him, according to Hogan.
“I’ve been the underdog a lot in my career,” he quipped.
“I understand where it’s at, and I know that. I understand that all the pressure will be on Munguia going back to México and having to fight there.
“You know, whatever way he deals with that, I don’t believe that that’s a major strength in my game plan anyway. My game plan is set, and I’m ready to do whatever it takes.
“But I am here to make an upset, and with that I have a lot of confidence. So I enjoy people asking who he’d like to fight next because when other names are being mentioned, they’re probably the names I’ll be fighting next.
“I will just get out there and be relaxed in that sense. But I will start hard and fast, also, but ultimately I will be relaxed.”
Pressure in many ways, makes of breaks fighters at the highest level.
And while Hogan is unable to predict the outcome of his latest world title challenge, the 34-year-old believes the hostile setting of the looming challenge will work in his favour.
“I know what it’s like to have that pressure, and whether or not Munguia can deal with that is all good,” he concluded.
“That’s not something that we’re relying on. But you know, it’s a big stadium. There’s a lot of people there, and it will be interesting to see what way that makes Munguia fight or what way it goes.
“But again, we’ve got all the boxes ticked.”
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