The Kildare light middleweight was seemingly offered the chance to face former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook on March 3rd in Sheffield, live on Sky Sports, but elected against the pay day in his bid to secure a WBO World title fight.
Money aside, ‘Special K’ apparently did not bring enough to the table for the ambitious Aussie-based fighter.
WBO #4 Hogan [26(7)-1(0)-1] was dealt somewhat of a blow when Sadam Ali defeated Miguel Cotto to claim the title in December.
Having dominated Japanese champion Yuki Nonaka and jumping up the rankings, the Brisbane-based fighter felt if Cotto retired and vacated the belt the path would clear for him to challenge for the strap against Liverpool’s Liam Smith.
However, Ali’s upset the applecart in more ways than one with his shock points win and now looks set to defend against Smith.
As a result Hurricane’s challenge chances have been delayed somewhat, although they are certainly still alive and kicking.
Indeed, Hogan’s promoters claim the 32 year old is in an extremely strong position and remains on course for a World title shot in 2018.
Paul Keegan of DDP Sport revealed the WBO Oriental titleholder is a wanted man and he has rebuffed offers from numerous interested parties – including a former World champion from the UK – in a bid to make a fight that will bring about a title shot.
Team Hogan go into 2018 under orders from the fighter to secure a ranked opponent that may force the WBO to grant mandatory challenger status and claim they will decide on one of three possible routes in the coming weeks.
Among those three options is Jimmy Kilrain Kelly [23(9)-1(1)], a Manchester native of Carlow and Kilkenny heritage – and that is a fight that seems to appeal to a promoter heading into just his second show.
“We have three options we are working on for Dennis’s next fight,” Keegan explained to Irish-Boxing.com when asked with regard to what was next for Hogan.
“We want to make the best fight possible for the boxing public in Brisbane but we also want to bring top ranked fighter in for Dennis.”
“Dennis, he loves fighters who come to fight, he absolutely dominated Nonaka in his last fight and he has expressed his next fight has to be someone in the Top 5 and now it’s our job to deliver that. Dennis vs anyone else in the top five is definitely a 50/50 fight,” he added before analysing the scene.
“I think once the Liam Smith vs Ali fight gets made then we will start to see movement in the division as it will come down to who is next after that.”
“It looks like it’s between Magomed Kurbanov, Dennis, and Jimmy Kelly from Manchester. I know a lot of boxing fans and sport fans would want to see a Hogan versus Kelly fight. It would be a great Ireland versus England fight and there is a bit of feeling there already as they have been going at it on social media over the last couple of months”
“Hopefully over the next two weeks we will be ready to announce our April main event.”
Keegan then revealed that they had turned down good fights they felt were not helpful in securing a World title fight.
Although there was no official confirmation, it looks apparent that Team Hogan rejected the chance to fight Brook [36(25)-2(2)].
“Dennis’s reputation is growing outside of Australia now and people are starting to see what we have been seeing for years.”
“We were offered a huge fight in the UK but we decided to not accept as it did nothing for Dennis’s ranking. The fighter – although a massive name – is not even ranked with the WBO and we felt it best to get one of the top five.”
“Other promoters want his ranking and we were offered that big, big fight against a former world champion as a result. It is a good fight but we will do that fight on our terms when Dennis is the World champion. It could be a fight we do back in Ireland or at least in the UK further down the line.”
“I am not going to name the promoter or the fighter out of courtesy and respect but I think everyone who knows boxing can work out a former world champion who has just moved into the light middleweight division.”
Brook lost his welterweight title to Errol Spence last May, suffering a broken eye socket in the process. Having recovering from this, the English fighter has moved up to 154lbs and, instead of Hogan, he will face Sergey Rabchenko [29(22)-2(1)] at the Sheffield Arena on March 3rd.
Avoiding such a talented operator when you could be one win away from a World title tilt seems smart, but the promoter is adamant his charge is confident he can beat any of the World’s light middles and stresses progression to that title tilt and not fear are the basis of all decisions.
“The great thing about Dennis is he doesn’t care who he fights,” said Keegan.
“He believes he beats every light Middleweight in the world. His confidence since he started working with Glenn Rushton is at levels I have never seen.”
“That last performance was their first fight together and Dennis just schooled Nonaka and that was all with an injury that cut his training camp short. With more time with Glenn and an injury free camp you would be pushed to see who can beat him in the WBO rankings right now.”