It won’t help the Australian based Lilywhite in the ring when he trades leather with the Manchester fighter in Brisbane on April 7th, but it will strengthen his chances of a World title fight if he emerges from the bad blood clash victorious.
The Kildare native has been elevated from #3 to #2 in the WBO rankings, meaning he should be next in line for the winner of champion Sadam Ali and #1 and mandatory challenger Liam Smith’s title fight in Verona, New York on Saturday May 12th.
WBO Inter-Continental champion Kelly [23(9)-1(1)] himself has been bumped from #4 to #3 – both he and Hogan overtaking Kanat Islam who drops to fourth.
‘Hurricane’ Hogan has been within touching distance of shot for some time now and has been demanding ranked opposition to move him closer to a tilt. Indeed, late last year his team felt he was certain of a shot in early 2018.
However, Ali’s surprise win over retiring legend Miguel Cotto threw a spanner in the works and Hogan was forced to go for an eliminator instead as mandatory Smith moved in line for the surprise champion.
With the word ‘final’ still not proceeding ‘eliminator’ despite the rankings shifts, one can never be sure if a World title tilt is pending or a little further down the line.
However, the winner of Hogan-Kelly will move into the #1 spot following Ali-Smith and they should, in theory, get a shot at the brown belt this year.
With Ali v Smith being a mandatory defence for the American, a voluntary defence may be next, especially if the New Yorker retains his belt – but Hogan will still be primely placed should he overcome Kelly in two weeks time.
The WBO 154lbs Top 15 in full is:
C: Sadam Ali (USA)
1: Liam Smith (UK)
2: Dennis Hogan (Ireland)
3: Jimmy Kelly (UK)
4: Kanat Islam (Kazakhstan)
5: John Vera (USA)
6: Jaime Munigia (Mexico)
7: Julian Williams (USA)
8: Brandon Cook (Canada)
9: Takeshi Inoue (Japan)
10: Nathaniel Gallimore (Jamaica)
11: Liam Williams (UK)
12: Bakhram Murtazaliev (Russia)
13: Yoshihiro Kamegai (Japan)
14: Sebastian Formella (Germany)
15: Ismail Iliev (Russia)
Kildare Boxing is proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire