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Dublin: 9°C Thursday 22 April 2021
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Son-of-legend Tszyu breaks down Kildare's Hogan in stoppage victory

The Aussie was in ferocious form as he ironed out a couple of early complications and halted the Irishman.

Tim Tszyu and Dennis Hogan embrace.
Tim Tszyu and Dennis Hogan embrace.
Image: AAP/PA Images

DENNIS HOGAN’S WORLD-TITLE dream went up in smoke as the courageous Kildare man was stopped by vicious son-of-legend Tim Tszyu in Newcastle, Australia this afternoon.

Tszyu looked every bit a chip off the old block as he shook off some early complications to halt Hogan just after the halfway mark, sending a partisan crowd into raptures in the city in which his father, Hall of Famer Kostya Tszyu, fought seven times during his own storied career.

Hogan’s corner threw in the towel in the fifth as he came under ferocious pressure following a hard knockdown, Tszyu seizing his moment to close the show after previously hurting his opponent to the body on multiple occasions.

At 36, 10 years Tszyu’s senior, today’s bout looked simply a step too far for the Irishman, who in a fairer world — or indeed fairer sport — would have been crowned world champion against Jaime Munguia in Mexico two years ago.

Hogan didn’t look in any way slow or ‘old’ offensively — on the contrary, he started crisply and probably banked the first couple of rounds. But whereas he took Munguia the full 12 rounds in 2019 largely through fleet footwork and sharp reflexes, he was unable to escape the equally crude Tszyu or indeed withstand his power two years on, having since suffered a stoppage defeat to Jermall Charlo up at middleweight.

boxing-tszyu-hogan Tszyu celebrates as Hogan's corner throw in the towel. Source: AAP/PA Images

Hogan emerged to a rendition of Oasis’ ‘Supersonic’ which was remixed with a chorus of boos that rained down upon him from a pro-Tszyu, 7,000-strong crowd. During his walk, he jokingly bobbed his head towards a fan who was giving him lip. As he got to the ring, he soaked in the scorn of the audience who had come to watch him lose, circling the ring and raising his arms in a sign of defiance.

Tszyu was coaxed from his dressing room moments later, ominously appearing to sirens and Queen’s ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, commensurate to his talk of plans to take Hogan’s soul in the lead-up.

Hogan [28-3-1, 7KOs] was without Las Vegas-based chief trainer Wayne McCullough due to Covid restrictions in OZ but had co-trainer Stephen Edwards in his corner.

He felt Tszyu out early behind his jab, targeting body and head to some success. It was the younger Australian, though, who took centre ring and though he missed with most of his own efforts, he exerted most of the pressure in the opener.

Tszyu started the second with a tidy left upstairs but swallowed a couple of Hogan jabs for his trouble. There was more hassle, then, for Tszyu, as blood began to pour from the side of his left eye as a result of a head clash. Hogan landed another couple of solid overhand rights in the final minute of the second, taking the round quite clearly on this unofficial judge’s scorecard.

boxing-tszyu-hogan Hogan lands and overhand right. Source: AAP/PA Images

Hogan, undoubtedly the lighter puncher, started the third with the heavier shots on either side of some nice body work by Tszyu, who continued to march forward in an attempt to cut off the ring. The younger and noticeably bigger man landed a couple of strong right hooks to Hogan’s head in the second half of the round and, towards the end, shifted the momentum of the contest entirely as he started to inflict real damage to the body.

Hogan was badly hurt but refused to submit, staying on his feet and surviving at least as far as the bell. The arena had, at this point, become a caldron, with chants of ‘Tszyu-castle’ punctuating some of the action.

The fourth was again a big Tszyu round, his body work again devastating Hogan whose survival was at this point miraculous. The writing, though, was on the wall clear as day.

In the fifth, as Hogan reeled around the ring, surviving on instinct and experience, Tszyu eventually dropped him — not to the body but with a booming left uppercut to the whiskers.

Hogan rose and, incredibly, responded with some strong right hands of his own but they barely registered a dent in Tszyu who had long since smelt blood that wasn’t pouring from his own eye.

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boxing-tszyu-hogan Tszyu drops Hogan with an uppercut. Source: AAP/PA Images

In the end, it was Hogan’s trainer Stephen Edwards who protected the Brisbane adoptee from himself, throwing in the towel as he absorbed more punishment to body and head.

Though visibly distraught at the outcome, there were no complaints from Hogan for whom there was no way back into the fight at that juncture.

He is a man who was hellbent on becoming a world champion but equally, he is a man who has a partner and two children, has bought a house with good money earned over the course of his last three fights, and has numerous business interests and career options outside of the ring if this is to be the end of his boxing pursuit.

But to enjoy any of those luxuries, you need your health. Knowing there is no ‘quit’ in the Kilcullen Hurricane, trainer Edwards made a commendable and correct decision to spare him from any potential further damage.

boxing-tszyu-hogan Hogan congratulates Tszyu. Source: AAP/PA Images

In Tszyu 2, the Aussies have a potential world beater who will march on and test his credentials against a champion in due course. He was probably too keen for knockout early, compromising his own boxing ability, but once he saw a chance he took it with aplomb — and looked good doing so.

Hogan embraced him afterwards, offering words of congratulations and encouragement. There are few more sincere characters currently active in the punch-for-pay ranks.

Now, a tough decision looms for the ‘Irish Aussie’ but at 36, the trek back to contention appears too long and perilous.

He might never achieve the dream of hanging the world-title belt over the fireplace but boxing fans know he ostensibly earned world honours in Mexico two years ago in what was one of the great Irish-boxing away-fighter displays, and one of many memories from a superb 10-year career to this point.

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