Saturday 21 July 2018

Hogan eyes up world title shot despite late medical drama

Dennis Hogan. Photo: Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images
Dennis Hogan. Photo: Martin Rose/Bongarts/Getty Images

Seán McGoldrick

Kilcullen-born, Brisbane-based boxer Dennis Hogan has achieved a breakthrough win in his pursuit of securing a world title shot.

And it has now emerged that Saturday's fight in Brisbane was on the brink of being cancelled after the British Boxing Board of Control raised concerns about Hogan's opponent, Manchester-based Jimmy Kelly.

The card had already started before the BBBC relented and withdrew their objections.

"The message came through at 6.49pm local time and Hogan v Kelly fight was due to start at ten," explained promoter Paul Keegan.

The unwanted drama began during the weigh-in the previous day when Dublin-born Keegan received a message from the BBBC that an issue had arisen with Kelly's medical history and as a result he wouldn't be allowed to fight.

Bizarre

"It was really bizarre because obviously at this stage he had gone through the whole medical process. He had been examined by an neurologist and everything was in order.

"Worse still, the BBBC wouldn't say what the problem was. We were determined, however, to do everything possible to ensure that the fight went ahead.

"So we brought in a neurologist by helicopter from Toowoomba and he examined Jimmy Kelly and found nothing wrong. His report was immediately passed on to the BBBC and finally, three hours before the fight, they indicated that it could go ahead," said Keegan.

Hogan, meanwhile, was mostly oblivious to the behind-the-scenes drama as he prepared for the biggest fight of his career.

"Fair play to Paul, he kept me away from all that. Luckily enough, everything went ahead as scheduled.

"It would have been such a shame if something like that had scuppered everything because it was such a great fight. So I'm delighted that the fight went ahead and I got a good win."

"It was another step in the right direction. My dream is not to contest a world title fight; my dream is to win it," said Hogan who has lived in Brisbane for the last seven years.

Paul Keegan plans to be at ringside in Verona, New York, next month when WBO World light middleweight champion Sadam Ali puts his title on the line against England's Liam Smith, who beat Kelly via a TKO decision when they clashed in 2015.

Prior to Saturday's win, Hogan was rated as the number two contender by the WBO and once the Smith/Ali fight takes place, the Irishman is expected to be named as the mandatory number one challenger for the belt.

"The outcome doesn't matter either way, but we would be hoping it would be Liam (Smith) because we would get a deal from him quicker and easier. But I will have to see how it works out. But my eye is on the big prize," said Hogan.

Irish Independent

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