DENNIS Hogan’s next bout appears to be a must-win.
The 36-year-old will return to the ring for the first time since March, where he lost inside five rounds to Tim Tszyu in Newcastle.
Tszyu will headline another stacked pay-per-view card at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena in less than two weeks’ time, when he puts his guaranteed world title at risk against Japan’s Takeshi Inoue.
Hogan (28-4-1, 7 KOs) will feature on the undercard against experienced former two-time world title challenger Tommy Browne (42-7-2, 18 KOs) in a high-stakes non-title fight.
The Brisbane-based Irishman is on a three-fight losing run, which includes two world title challenges, having faced undefeated opposition for consecutive years.
This run began in Mexico, where Hogan lost a controversial points verdict against Mexico’s Jamie Munguia, losing by majority decision for the WBO super welterweight crown, currently held by Argentine Brian Castaño.
Hogan then jumped a division to face American star Jermall Charlo for the WBC world middleweight title, in a brave albeit ill-fated move up in weight.
Speaking with Aus-Boxing, Hogan appeared confident that he’ll turn the tide and return to winning ways in this pivotal bout at Sydney’s Olympic Park precinct.
Why this fight is a must-win for Hogan
Despite his record in world title fights, Hogan has shown that he’s more than capable and worthy of fights at that level.
Yet, after his three defeats, he’s arguably facing a career-defining bout, to reignite his plans of a potential return to the pinnacle of his weight class.
“One hundred percent. It’s detrimental for either of us to have a loss in this fight,” Hogan told Aus-Boxing.
“I’m very well aware of that. This is to see where I’m at, to see if I can get to my best, like I’ve been at when I was at my best.
“And if I can’t do that, you know, I’ll have to ask some serious questions about my career.”
Hogan sees the meeting with Browne as not only an opportunity to prove himself, but to test the water at domestic level.
“I always fight for the fans so I love them in that way, and I always put in,” he added.
“But this is for me. This is to see if it’s worth my while. I know that I have the ability. I’ve done stuff in the ring throughout my boxing career which I know would win me fights, world championship fights.
“I have to see if I can execute all those things together again and put on a career performance.
“It takes everything you’ve got to get to where I’ve gotten before… I’ve got to see that all of that is there on fight night.”
Who is Tommy Browne?
Browne is another Australian fighter with plenty to prove on the pay-per-view platform.
The Sydney-based veteran is heavily experienced in the professional game with 51 fights to his name across two decades, including world title challenges in the lighter divisions against In Jin Chi and Chris John.
On the regional circuit, Browne holds wins over the likes of Argentine veteran Jorge Daniel Miranda, as well as former world champions Sirimongkol Singwancha and Rodolfo Lopez.
Despite a 20-month layoff, Browne comes into this fight on the back of six straight wins, and 16 victories from his last 18.
“I’ve seen what he’s done, he’s done some good things in the sport. He’s a WBC world title challenger like myself,” Hogan said.
“It’s gonna make me work. I’ve just got to stick to my game-plan, put in 100%, it’s only six rounds. So I do believe I can do what I need to do for six rounds to get the job done.”
Facing Tim Tszyu and his world title ambitions
Tszyu is on the brink of a world title challenge, earning his place at world level with a series of high-profile wins, including scalps over Hogan and former world champion Jeff Horn.
While Hogan managed to cut Tszyu around his left eye in their March clash, Tszyu went on to win the fight.
The experience against Tszyu is one Hogan reflects with mixed feelings, citing his previously broken nose and difficulties breathing on fight night.
“He’s very strong at what he does,” he explained.
“When you get in (the ring), you see those simple things that he does, he does very effectively. You know that youth is on his side. He likes to come forward and sort of overpower people.
“I was pretty tired after three rounds and it’s not really happened to me before. So whether that be the broken nose, not being able to breathe properly, or the fact he might have been just placing shots in the right area.
“I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he does some good things well.”
Photo: Getty Images
Words: Finn Morton/Follow Finn on Twitter