The latest chapter in the career of Australia’s hottest boxing prospect, Tim Tszyu, is about to be written.
Tszyu (17-0) is taking on experienced Brisbane-based Irishman, 36-year-old Dennis Hogan (28-3-1) at the Newcastle Entertainment Centre in what has been billed as the Steel City Showdown.
The Newcastle Entertainment Centre should be used to hosting Tszyu fights.
Tim’s dad Kostya fought in Newcastle seven times during his storied career, successfully defending his IBF super lightweight title there twice against Roger Mayweather and Jan Piet Bergman.
Tszyu senior had a 7-0 record in Newcastle between 1993 and 1998, with four knockouts.
Who is Dennis Hogan?
Ask Tszyu, and he’ll call Hogan a stepping stone on his path towards boxing immortality.
For most other people, though, Hogan is a genuine threat who should be calling himself a world champion.
In 2019, the Irish-Australian was cruelly robbed of a world title when fighting Mexican Jamie Munguía for the WBO super welterweight title in Monterrey, when the judges handed the home fighter a victory by majority decision.
That was the first of two successive world title defeats, the other coming at middleweight against Jermell Charlo in December 2019, which was the last time Hogan stepped into the ring.
Despite those two losses implying that Hogan is just below the world standard, the Brisbane-based Australian undoubtedly poses the toughest test of Tszyu’s fledgeling career.
Moreover, Hogan has not been afraid to talk up his chances against the man 10 years his junior.
“I’ve got more skills [than Tszyu],” Hogan said after the fight was confirmed.
After defeat against Charlo, Hogan split with trainer Glenn Rushden — of Jeff Horn fame — and linked up with Wayne McCullogh to help him move to the next level.
McCullough will not be present ringside on Wednesday night as he is stuck in the US.
What is on the line?
Tszyu’s WBO global super welterweight title is up for grabs, but that’s only a trinket compared to the real prize on offer.
That would be a shot at the WBO champion, Brian Castaño.
After belting Bowyn Morgan just before Christmas, Tszyu looked primed to take on Patrick Teixeira as number one contender to his WBO belt.
However, in February, Argentine Castaño annihilated his Brazilian rival to take ownership of the belt and line up IBF, WBC and WBA champion Charlo in a unification fight.
That might put Tszyu’s title prospects on the back burner for now, but a victory over a world-ranked opponent in Hogan will mean the clamour will surely grow even louder for a world title shot.
Failing that, a fight against former world champion Liam Smith appears to be on the cards.
Both fighters are apparently keen, although Liverpool’s Smith is booked to take on the 21-0 Russian Magomed Kurbanov in May.
For Hogan though, putting Tszyu “back in his box” would instantly put the Irishman back into a position to challenge for a belt that he justifiably thinks he should have won two years ago.
Inarguably, this fight has the potential to be career defining for both men.
What they said
“He’s a great fighter. I have no disrespect for him,” Tszyu said.
“But when you get in the ring, it’s my ring, my world, and I’m not going to let anyone out.
“I’m not here to kick back. I’m here to do damage with my fights.”
Hogan’s camp said Tszyu was “scared” after putting a rematch clause into the fight contract.
“Why would you ask for that unless you thought you were going to lose?” Hogan’s manager Danny Dimas said.
Hogan’s team added that Tszyu would be a warm-up for their fighter.
“Preparing for this has been an absolute treat,” Hogan told Irish broadcaster RTÉ.
“Tim is the son of a legend. He has had some big wins lately. I am coming off two losses, so I am not going to be the favourite. On paper, that is what it is.
“But the margin, that just astounds me. It is absolutely incredible.”
How can I watch the Tszyu Hogan fight?
Unless you’re in Newcastle, you’ll need to fork out some cash to watch this on the TV.
The fight is a pay-per-view offering on Fox Sports’s Main Event channel.
ABC News will be blogging the fight and all the build-up, so jump online and join the discussion.
When will Tszyu vs Hogan start?
The undercard will get underway from 7:00pm AEST.
There are seven fights before the main event.
Tszyu and Hogan are expected to start their ring walks at about 10:30pm local time.
Who’s fighting on the undercard?
- Wade Ryan vs Koen Mazoudier: WBA Oceania super welterweight and IBO international super welterweight titles
- Cesar Mateo Tapia vs Renold Quinlan: WBA Oceania super middleweight title
- Paul Fleming vs Tyson Lantry: super featherweight
- Sakio Bika vs Sam Soliman: super middleweight
- Darkon Dryden vs Jason Medawar: super welterweight
- Jason Fawcett vs Alex Carioti: super welterweight
- Linn Sandstrom vs Felicity Loiterton: junior bantamweight