Dennis “Hurricane” Hogan 26-1-1- (7 KOs) is all but guaranteed a world title shot after outgunning and out-hustling Yuki Nonaka 31-9-3 (10 KOs) for the WBO number two ranking at junior middleweight over 10 one-sided rounds at the Convention & Entertainment Centre in Brisbane on Saturday night.
Hogan took control from the opening bell and didn’t allow Nonaka to establish himself at any stage of the bout. All three judges awarded the victory to Hogan by scores of 100-90, 100-90 and 99-91.
“I felt completely in control of the fight and I actually enjoyed it out there,” says Hogan. “I had him at my distance very early on and just felt like every punch I threw landed. I was also able to nullify his left hand, which is his best, and I knew and could see he was crafty and liked to try to intimidate me but I was just on form and decided to play him at his own game and beat him too.
“He knew in the later rounds I was up every round so it was big shots he was trying to land so I felt that made it easier for me to land my combinations and get out of danger.
“All up a good fight and great learning curve for me. Rangy, crafty, experienced southpaws are dangerous and can cause problems but we made a great game plan, done all the work, stuck to it and it made for a very enjoyable fight for me and the crowd!”
It was a dominant performance from Hogan who impressed with fast and accurate combinations to the body and head of his taller opponent. The Japanese veteran was undefeated in eight years going in to the bout.
With the win Hogan has now staked his claim to a shot at the soon-to-be vacant WBO junior middleweight championship currently held by Miguel Cotto.
The 36-year-old Puerto Rican legend and future Hall of Famer has announced plans to hang up his gloves after his December title defence against Brooklyn’s Sadam Ali.
Next month’s rematch between British rivals WBO #2 Liam Williams and WBO #4 Liam Smith is expected to decide who will be in one corner fighting for the vacant world title in 2018.
The 32-year-old Australian-based Irishman is trained by Glenn Rushton at the Stretton Boxing Club alongside WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn who claimed the world title from global superstar Manny Pacquiao in July.
The only loss on Hogan’s ledger came against Jack Cuclay for the interim WBA junior middleweight title in Germany in December 2015.
The capacity crowd on hand to enjoy DDP Sports inaugural card also witnessed the comeback of former heavyweight world title challenger Alex Leapai 31-7-3 (25 KOs) who defeated New Zealand’s Thomas Peato 2-6 by TKO3 of a scheduled eight round bout.
Former world number six super middleweight Rohan Murdock 20-1 (15 KOs) needed just three rounds to stop his Tanzanian opponent Said Mbelwa 43-25-5 (28 KOs) in a scheduled eight rounder.