Kilcullen-born Dennis Hogan has the chance of the lifetime on Saturday night, as the travels to the lion’s den to take on unbeaten WBO World super welterweight champion Jamie Munguia in Monterrey, Mexico.
Hogan, 33, attained mandatory status back in August 2018 but was overlooked when Munguia elected to make the second defence of his title against Canada’s Brandon Cook on the Canelo-Golovkin II undercard in September.
Now based in Queensland, Australia, Hogan moved into position to fight for a World title a little under a year ago, producing a career-best performance in defeating Mancunian contender Jimmy Kelly via unanimous decision in an unofficial title eliminator in Brisbane.
“I was in a great place when I fought Kelly.” said Hogan, in an exclusive interview with Boxing Social.
“I knew I was ready for that mentally and physically. When he [Kelly] got here, I was ready to fight and I was probably the best I have ever been – that day I just knew there was something different, I was next in line”.
While being forced to step aside to allow Munguia to defend his title against Cook, Hogan would take the opportunity to stay busy himself; booking another decision win over Jamie Weetch in December 2018 – adding the IBF Pan-Pacific title to his WBO Inter-Continental belt in the process.
Though he has had little choice but to be patient ahead of his first crack at a World title, Hogan now finds himself with the opportunity of a lifetime against Mexico’s 22-year-old star of the future. It is a bout which, according to the Irishman, Munguia and his team have done their best to avoid.
“He [Munguia] didn’t want me at all.” Hogan stated.
“Him and his team know that I bring a completely different aspect than all of the other fighters have bought. I’m in the best place of my life.
“His team were very smart in realising that and they did everything they could to avoid me for as long as they could.”
Hogan, who enters Saturday night’s about as a heavy underdog stated that his ability to adapt in the ring could prove pivotal when he face off against the rangy Mexican puncher.
“I’m really good at adapting to situations.
“Every fighter is different, the changes that I make during the first couple of rounds show I’m really good at adapting – it’s one of my best attributes.”
Should Hogan prove to be successful in upsetting the odds against Munguia, he is already eyeing a fight back in his homeland against fellow Irishman and former sparring partner Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan, who now campaigns at the super welterweight limit.
“As soon as I get that World title, he [O’Sullivan] will be wanting it – and that is a dream come true to have such a willing opponent. It’s such an easy fight to make and I certainly do believe that it will happen in Dublin.”
“The first time me and Gary sparred he came up he said ‘hello’ – he was very nice. He looked after me very well and I know that deep down he is a lovely guy.
“I know anything he says I would not take on board it would not bother me at all not in the slightest.”
Though a economic recession led Hogan to Australia to pursue his World title aspirations, Hogan revealed he had dreamt of returning to Ireland to defend his belt – right down to picking out his own ring entrance music.
“The dream when I left for Australia was win the World title – and not to fight in Ireland until I win it – and come and successfully defend it.” said Hogan.
“I have even had my song picked out for seven or eight years now!” he laughed.
Despite the bookmakers believing the odds are stacked firmly against him, Hogan remained resolute in his pre-fight predictions.
A life of persistence and willingness to travel to the other side of the world have culminated in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the 33-year-old.
Should Hogan prove to be successful, it would go down as perhaps the biggest upset in Irish boxing history. However, Hogan remains focused on the task at hand, declaring his years of hard work and toil are about to finally pay off.
“I’ve prepared well and I’m 100% ready to win this fight.
“I’ve always been in this game to win a World title: and after eight long years it’s finally about to happen… I can feel the belt around me already!”
Article by: Emmily Simcock
Follow Emmily on Twitter at: @emmily_jane