Former world title challenger emerges as frontrunner to face Tim Tszyu in December

Anthony Cocks

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Two-time world title challenger Dennis Hogan 28-3-1 (7) has emerged as the frontrunner to face rising junior middleweight star Tim Tszyu 16-0 (12) in December.

The 35-year-old Brisbane-based Irishman is coming off back-to-back losses in world title fights.

Hogan moved up in weight and was stopped in seven rounds by WBC middleweight champion Jermall Charlo 30-0 (22) in Brooklyn, New York last December.

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Eight months earlier he was desperately unlucky not to get the nod over then-WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia 35-0 (28) on the road in Monterrey, Mexico, losing by majority decision.

Tszyu, 25, is coming off a career-best win over Jeff Horn in Townsville, Australia last month, dropping the former WBO welterweight champion twice and stopping him in eight.

“There is a new frontrunner to face Tim Tszyu and everyone has been entering the sweepstakes to get this fight because it is probably the biggest money fight you could have on Australian soil at the moment,” broadcaster Ben Damon told Fox Sports.

“And the man that No Limit Boxing who promote Tim Tszyu think is the biggest challenge for their man right now – and that’s what they want after seeing him against Jeff Horn, is to see him step up yet again – they believe that man is Dennis Hogan, who has formally fought for a world title overseas, a couple of them in fact.

“He probably should’ve won one of them when he went to Mexico to fight against Jaime Munguia. Dennis Hogan was quickly clearly ripped off on the cards and did not get the belt he deserved.

“Interestingly, that was the WBO’s super welterweight belt which Tim Tszyu is now well placed to fight so at some point.

“So they’d really like to test him against Dennis Hogan, who is an Irishman now based in Brisbane and who could have a fight himself in the US later this year, but obviously with restrictions the way they are in boxing, the way that it is in 2020, that might be difficult, so it could be a fight that is of interest of those at DDP that promote Dennis Hogan.”

Tszyu has effectively cleaned out his backyard over the past two years, defeating Australian champion Joel Camilleri, world-rated Dwight Ritchie and rugged brawler Jack Brubaker along with Horn over the past 16 months.

The only other viable domestic opponent is Michael Zerafa 27-4 (16), who split a pair of fights with Horn last year.

“What that does of course is leave Michael Zerafa out in the cold,” Damon continued.

“We saw Michael Zerafa in a couple of fights with Jeff Horn last year. He won one of them in emphatic style and the other one of them will go down as one of the greatest domestic fights of all time against Jeff Horn when he was beaten on points in that fight when Jeff Horn produced the punch from the gods.

“But No Limit Boxing says the proven world-class opponent is Dennis Hogan and they say they haven’t seen that from Michael Zerafa just yet.

“The other one in the conversation is Daniel Lewis, a little bit early in his boxing career, but he does have a bit of history with Tim Tszyu in the amateurs and he’s very keen to get that fight as well.

“But right now, Dennis Hogan is best placed to fight against Tim Tszyu, probably in early December.”

Meanwhile, Tszyu has reflected on his victory over Horn, saying he knew he had his measure in the early going.

“Everything became an instinct and I knew what to do,” he told the Back Page on Fox Sports. “As soon as I landed that first shot, I saw his eyes into the back of his head.

“I knew from the first minute, as soon as I landed the first shot. Once we got into a clinch I gave him a nice little right uppercut to the body and I heard him go ‘urgh, urgh’. I knew it was over since then.”

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