Ask any fighter and they will tell you that the demands of boxing are unlike any other sport on the planet. The accumulation of damage in bouts can take a toll on the physical and mental output of a competitor who willingly throws themselves into combat.
The two go hand in hand.
A sharpened mind will not flourish if it does not have a body that is willing to play it’s role and adhere to the commands placed upon it. Even the greatest, most skilled boxers have fallen victim to such anguish.
Then there are those who defy the aging process, returning time and again to fight free of any ill-effects caused years prior in their pursuit of glory inside the ring.
Dennis Hogan (28-4-1) believes he belongs in the latter category.
Following his fifth round TKO loss to Tim Tszyu (19-0, 15 KOs) in March, the 36-year-old was due for a quick return in July against Queensland’s Tysinn Best (14-2, 4 KOs), until a second torn meniscus in as many years ruled him out of the contest.
With the nagging injury taken care of after routine surgery, however, Hogan feels that he is at the height of his physical powers.
To this end, he will enter his Super Welterweight showdown with Tommy ‘The Titan’ Browne (42-7-2, 18 KOs) on November 17 full of confidence in his body.
“My injury has recovered well and I’ve been able to keep my cardio up. I’m back running now and it really does feel good,” Hogan told The Inner Sanctum.
“I did the opposite knee in March of last year, that was my first one to tear. Then I tore the other one and it was the same part, it was on the inside on both sides.
“I’ve now got two brand new meniscus so things have been pulling up well.
“I’m very, very happy with the way it’s all gone, I’m on track.”
The feeling of physical rejuvenation has been affirmed by the preparation that ‘The Hurricane’ has gone through in the lead up to the fight.
Working alongside another former Tszyu challenger in Stevie Spark (12-2, 11 KOs) and rising Super Lightweight Nathan Webber (9-1, 3 KOs), he has been tested in a positive manner.
In his mind, both men share similar attributes to Browne and their many rounds of sparring will have Hogan well-equipped to deal with anything his opponent has to offer.
“Stevie’s very, very explosive, so I knew that if we were able to go and manage Steve, then I feel like he will be similar to Tommy. If I’m ready for Steve, I’m ready for Tommy,” he said.
“We also have Nathan Webber there too, which we feel is probably more specific to Tommy in terms of the way he boxes and stuff.
“We’ve got them both there and we feel that we’ve got all angles covered with those two guys.”
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Moreover, the upcoming contest will be fought over six rounds, a significantly shorter distance than the Irish-born Brisbanite has become accustomed to.
Since April 2016, each of Hogan’s contests have been scheduled for either 10 or 12 rounds and have had regional or World titles on the line. Fight camp after fight camp, he has had to exert himself to the fullest in order to take on some of the greatest challenges on both the domestic and international scene
Now taking a step back of sorts, the years of high level training have created a routine that has six rounds at it’s core.
In fact, the only significant change has been in intensity. Less rounds means less time to land punches and score, which has resulted in a minor adjustment.
“To be honest, six rounds is what I usually maintain year round anyway. I’ve just tried to be a little bit more intense for those six rounds than I’d usually be in the build up,” Hogan claimed.
“When I had my first eight round fight, I remember going ‘wow, this is completely different’, because people are pacing themselves and even more so for a 10 round. It really is different to when I used to fight six on a regular basis.
“Now, I’ve pulled it back to what I used to do and I’ve kind of gone all in for those six rounds and it’s worked well. The great thing about it is, you can really go as hard as you like.
“I’ve been accustomed to, maybe two to three fights in my career, over-training, so I think with the six round you can drill in.
“I believe you can’t really over-train for a six round, so that’s been good in that regard.”
With the physical preparation well-honed, Hogan is not losing sight of his end game.
Though he concedes that he is closer to the end of a magnificent career than he is to the start, the desire to put together one last run at the elusive World title still remains.
To do so, Hogan knows he must have his reset moment by defeating Browne to snap a three fight losing streak. It is the starting point down a road pathed in gold and glory.
Though he is cognisant of the ‘do-or-die’ nature of the fight, he has full conviction that his boxing skill and pressure style will result in his hand being raised on the night.
With everything to fight for on November 17, ‘The Hurricane’ aims to create one more path of destruction within the boxing landscape.
“This is my opportunity to kind of pull it back a little bit,” Hogan concluded.
“If we’re to kick on and make the statement that I want in my career and get back to a World title fight again, this is a must win for me.
“This is a ‘be all or end all’, a cross roads fight for me and that’s the way I’m taking it. It could be my last, but it could be the start of a big wave of momentum again.
“I do believe that I can just keep a pressure on Tommy that he probably won’t like. That’s what I’ve trained for.
“I can completely outwork Tommy and regardless of what he brings, I feel like I’m ready for all of that and I’ll be getting the decision on the night for sure.
“So I’m just going to go out there and bring everything I’ve got and then get a good win.”
Hogan v Browne is part of No Limit Boxing’s Tszyu v Inoue card on Wednesday, November 17 and can be ordered via Main Event/Kayo here
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