When news broke of the possible postponement of the Tim Tszyu vs Dennis Hogan fight in Newcastle on March 31, reports suggested Hogan, the Aussie based Irishman, was suffering from a nose injury.
“I knew straight away he was making up something,” Tszyu said.
“He needs more time because his coach was in quarantine. My promoter said: ‘If you’re not willing to fight this day we’ll find someone else,’ he straight away said ‘nah, it’s all good’.”
Tszyu reckons it was all a ruse, much to the annoyance of Hogan. When contacted by Wide World of Sports about Tszyu’s claims, the Irishman, 36, wasn’t too pleased that his credibility had been trashed.
“Our integrity at DDP (sports management) and me as a fighter is worth a lot more than telling a lie. If I wanted to do something I would do it,” Hogan said.
“I’m not a bitter or resentful person but I’m actually a little bit resentful of that to be fair. Honesty is a big thing for me so I don’t appreciate that.”
According to Hogan, the Tszyu camp has no clue about his arrangements with his coach, former Irish world champion Wayne McCullough, who is based in the US.
“All I know is we spoke to them to see if we could put it back four weeks,” he continued. “My coach was not able to make it over. He can’t come to Australia. Even Australians can’t make it back into the country right now. That wasn’t a thing I’m telling you.
“I don’t know if they’re saying that now or they really believe that if someone comes to you with an injury. I feel like they are backtracking because they didn’t give us a chance.”
Hogan, a $5.20 outsider against Tszyu, said the injury occurred during sparring. He said he had his nose X-rayed, and has been passed fit for the clash. The Brisbane-based fighter said the injury had been lingering for years, since he went up in weight in his world title loss to middleweight WBC champion Jermell Charlo in 2019.
“After Charlo it was set badly and I just got a doctor to straighten it in the ring before I even left,” Hogan said.
“It was all skewed off and after one spar it was kind of sore. I had a feeling it was broken but throughout the last few years of boxing I didn’t think anything of it.
“And then in the next one it just got worse so I said: ‘Right it’s time to have a look at it and see what’s going on.’
“We were cautioned to pull back and let it heal and they didn’t give us the time to let it heal. So that’s how we were looking at it.
“I don’t know if they’re making up for the fact that they didn’t give us time to let it heal, I don’t know.”
Hogan (28-3-1, 7KO) has been tested on the world stage and has taken on all comers but hasn’t fought since December 2019. The boxing world was up in arms after he was robbed of a world title in his controversial majority-decision loss to Jamie Munguia in April of that year.
Hogan travelled to the Mexican champion’s homeland and was a massive underdog but walked away that night knowing that he should have been crowned the world’s best. He said he had a chance to end the fight in the eleventh round but didn’t push hard enough, thinking he was up on the judge’s scorecards.
“We gave Munguia a hard fight for sure,” Hogan said. “Especially in the eleventh round. I should have jumped on him.
“I could have gone wildly in for the finish but at that point I thought I was that far up, I was cruising it. When I sought out Wayne for a training camp we worked on some really cool finishing techniques that I now have in my arsenal. Now I feel like I’m ready for anything.”
Later that year Hogan showed guts to move up in weight to take on middleweight juggernaut Charlo in the US, but was finished in the seventh round. Regardless, Hogan has put himself in uncomfortable situations; something he believes will serve him well against Tszyu.
The Australian pound-for-pound king has won all of his 17 fights but hasn’t travelled abroad to test his talent on the world stage. That’s why Hogan is baffled when asked about the bookies’ decision to rate him a deep outsider; perhaps a reflection of the fact that the last time he tasted victory was in December 2018 with a 12-round unanimous decision over Jamie Weetch.
“Someone like Tim has always craved the comfort zone. All the world championship fights I’ve had have been in the champion’s backyard,” Hogan said.
“They were saying to fight in Australia right now because of the state that the world is in. I was over in Vegas ready to fight former unified champion Julian Williams in the title eliminator before he got COVID and pulled out.
“I’ve been getting calls from those in the know in boxing in the US and they can’t believe how everyone is doubting me.
“I’ve been getting texts from some very important people in the boxing world, and they all say the same thing, Tim has made a bad mistake by taking this fight.
“The WBC have me ranked above Tim. I’m tenth he’s at No.11, so go figure.”
Hogan says Tszyu hasn’t fought anybody of note and is conscious of all the shine the 26-year-old has been receiving. While other boxers have expressed displeasure over the opportunities that have been afforded to the son of boxing legend Kostya, Hogan doesn’t play that game.
“I don’t begrudge anybody, I’m happy to see people do well and provide for their families,” he said.
“When I met Tim I shook his hand and said ‘well done on your career so far,’ that was back in 2018.
“He’s kept winning and he’s beat who’s in front of him and that’s great. But I truly know and believe I’m a better fighter than him and I’m relishing the opportunity to go and prove that.”
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