AFTER his last fight 20 months ago, Tommy Browne had considered retiring from professional boxing.
Browne (42-7-2, 18 KOs) thought about hanging up the gloves, so that he could focus on his gym and giving back to the sport.
But the two-time world title challenger is set to add to his 51 professional bouts at Sydney’s Qudos Bank Arena on Wednesday night.
The experienced campaigner will meet credentialed former world title challenger Dennis Hogan (28-4-1, 7 KOs) as part of the pay-per-view, headlined by Tim Tszyu’s high-stakes clash with Takeshi Inoue.
It promises to be an entertaining matchup between two fighters with a wealth of experience in major title fights.
On nearly retiring from professional boxing
Since making his debut in 2002, the Sydney-based boxer has held a litany of regional belts, including scalps over former world champions Sirimongkol Singwancha and Rodolfo Lopez.
But in recent years, the 38-year-old has struggled to maintain momentum, fighting intermittently and taking fights abroad, with recent bouts in both Thailand and Mexico.
Despite this, Browne saw an opportunity to write the final chapter on his terms, with Hogan playing the perfect foil.
“I had a fight in 2019 here in my local town at Menangle Park in Campbelltown,” he explained.
“And after that fight, that was in the middle of the year, we tried to have one more before the year was out, that didn’t happen.
“That was when COVID kicked off in the following year and sort of, at that point in the back of my head I was thinking, you know, boxing was sort of finished for me.
“I started a little gym and my plan was to give a little bit back and focus on training some guys in the gym. Yeah, so I didn’t think that I was going to actually fight again.”
Given the length of his punch-for-pay career, which has spanned almost two decades, it’s understandable for punters to assume that a swan song is in his immediate plans.
When probed on this, Browne was unable to provide a definitive answer.
“You know, this is an important fight for both of us,” he explained.
“I’d be something that I’d have to probably think about if I don’t get the result. Even if things go to plan and I get my hands raised at the end of the bell, and I win the fight.”
Returning to the ring
Inactivity has plagued Browne in recent years, having taken extended breaks from the ring several times over the course of his professional campaign.
In the time that has passed since his most recent win, a fourth round stoppage over Thai veteran Uthit Punsen, the well-travelled Hogan has fought just once.
“A fighter that’s active definitely is a dangerous fighter,” Browne added.
“But I think also, your training camp, you’re sparring and the work that you’re putting in the gym definitely that means a lot too.
“It would’ve been nice to have possibly had a fight prior to this one but with the COVID, it basically made it really hard for everyone.”
While he acknowledged the importance of being active, Browne remained confident that he’s done the work needed ahead of the six-round bout.
“I’ve been training really good. We’ve had a bit of time to sort of prepare for this fight,” he continued.
“Pretty confident that everything’s sort of falling into place for a reason. Pretty stoked to get the opportunity to get on such a big fight night.”
On Dennis Hogan
The 36-year-old is currently riding a three-fight losing streak, but all three fights were against world level opposition, including two defending world champions.
He’s shown in the past that he can compete with the best in the division, and will no doubt be eager to turn his form around against Browne.
“I’m expecting him to come in and really give it everything,” said Browne.
“The last few fights that he’s been involved in, they’ve been the biggest fights internationally and on the local stage.
“He trains hard and look I believe that he’s going to come out and give it everything so I just [want to] make sure that I can adapt to whatever he brings on the night.”
The importance of experience
The pressure that comes with fighting on a big stage isn’t unfamiliar to Browne.
Having fought all over the world, the experienced campaigner admits that he will need to draw on his big fight experience.
“I’ve fought for two world titles, that was a long time ago but just that pressure of those big fights,” he concluded.
“Some fighters are good in the gym but when you’re in front of those big crowds… they sort of forget what they’ve done in the gym and they fight differently, different to the way that they normally would.
“I think [having] been in there on those big stage fights definitely gives you that bit more belief and confidence in that little edge over your opponent.”
Words: Finn Morton/Follow Finn on Twitter