Dennis Hogan on Jimmy Kelly, earning title credentials

A second consecutive win over world rated opposition should put Dennis Hogan on the fast-track to an inevitable second world title opportunity.

Hogan (26-1-1, 8 KOs) continues to inch closer to a challenge at the WBO light middleweight throne, presently held by American dynamo Sadam Ali. The final obstacle is another former world title challenger in the London-based ‘Jimmy’ Kilrain Kelly (23-1, 9 KOs), who is also working to restore his immediate world title credentials following an unsuccessful challenge against Liam Smith in 2015.

The pair collide at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre on Saturday night, topping the stacked ‘Revolution’ bill put together by DDP Sports, on a card that also boasts a mouth-watering bout between long-feuding rivals Damien Hooper and Renold Quinlan along with appearances from Jai Opetaia, Tim Tszyu, Nathan Webber and Joseph Goodall.

Just days away from a career-defining fight, Hogan believes the training regime he’s undertaken under Glenn Rushton has him primed to peak for Saturday night.

“I’m making weight better than I have ever done before. I’m stronger than what I have ever been both mentally and physically,” said Hogan to Aus-Boxing. “All the extra stuff I have been working on in the gym is finally paying off. I’m very excited about this fight.”

“It’s been exactly eleven and a half months since I fought before my previous fight.”

“A lot of people might have thought I probably needed a tune-up fight. But in essence, I knew I would get it back pretty quick. I worked hard all last year, even when I was inactive. Essentially, all I needed was one round to break the rust off and following on in rounds two and three, I was back completely where I had left off and better again.”

“After a great win there I just can’t wait to get back in there and get this fight under my belt. It’s not just about the fact I use to fight regularly, it’s all the stuff I do and have been working on and it’s really been coming off in training and I just cant wait to display it on the main stage with everything up for grabs.”

The 33-year-old last fought in October, schooling the top ten rated Yuki Nonaka by unanimous decision in Brisbane. The relocated Irishman reflects on the Nonaka win with great enthusiasm, while believing that fights of this quality will eventually lead to a favourable position within the WBO, given his continued pursuit of highly rated opponents.

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“Even if you look at my last fight, that guy was ranked above me on BoxRec,” Hogan added. “He was only a couple behind me in the WBO – and he was ranked ahead of me with the WBC as well – these are the kind of fights I want to bring. I feel I’m doing my part by fighting the best I can get my hands on.”

“I don’t want walk over fights on paper. You want to get the best people you can and as evenly matched as you can and give the punter the value for money. There is no point in messing around now, it’s all or nothing at this point. I want to leave a legacy.”

As for the challenge at hand with the 25-year-old Kelly, who is riding a seven-fight win streak following his ill-fated title challenge against the aforementioned Liam Smith, Hogan sees this as the perfect platform to deliver a signature performance.

If he overcomes Kelly on Saturday night – Hogan will also become the newest owner of the WBO Inter-Continental bauble – which Kelly lifted in his last appearance.

“It’s number two versus number three for the number one position,” he quipped. “It’s the perfect platform for me to go out there and make a real statement, which I do intend on doing. Obviously to get to the number one position after this fight would be great, but I need to make a statement.”

“I’ve trained that way and geared myself to do that. I can tell you I’m getting in there to make a massive statement and just show the world why I’m deserving of a world title fight.”

“He’s from the UK, so he’s tough. There is no doubt about those guys being tough,” Hogan explained. “What I see in him, first and foremost, is that he is emotional from all his Facebook posts. Maybe he needs to build some anger and rage – I don’t know what his angle is – but he seems very emotional.”

And while these may go down as famous last words, Hogan was prophetic in his breakdown of Kelly’s career.

“One thing about him is he has never been in the eleventh and twelfth round ever,” he concluded. “Not only that, he has never flown. He has never travelled out of the UK for a fight. I want people to say I’m a deserving number one. Let’s give him a shot for the world title because he has just earned his stripes there, beating a world title challenger as good as he did.”

“That’s what I want people to say after this fight.”

The ‘Revolution’ card, headlined by Dennis Hogan vs. ‘Jimmy’ Kilrain Kelly, will be live streamed on Saturday night free of charge here.

Photo: Getty Images