So much so, the normally-reserved Kildare man recently issued an open challenge to his regional rivals. Hogan claimed the WBO Oriental title in September and defends it on November 12th in his adopted home city of Brisbane. The lilywhite yearned for an opponent ranked higher than him as he seeks to continue his World title chase and while one was not secured, a game opponent was drafted in in the form of Taiwanese boxer Yao Yi Ma [15(10)-1(0)].
Hurricane Hogan spoke to Irish-Boxing.com about the difficulties of being an avoided fighter, and his surprise that no one accepted his offer.
“The offer was out to everyone,” he explained. “There’s only one fighter in Australia ranked higher than me, Anthony Mundine and he’s locked into a fight with Danny Greene in January I believe.”
“Strange alright, being offered a title that offers a Top 15 World ranking, being flown in, paid without having to worry about selling tickets – I’d take hand and all for that opportunity!”
“I’m very surprised people don’t want to take the challenge to better themselves. I’ve flown around the World fighting people in their own back yards for five years now.”
“I’m still dreaming of the day I get to trade leather back in Ireland too in front of my home crowd and family. But I’m following the World title and I’ll catch it too. He who dares wins and if you’re not in you can’t win.”
Indeed the lack of willing opponents is all the more frustrating for Hogan, who has frequently heard his name on the lips of other boxers, but would then receive radio silence whenever he looked to make a fight.
“I get people here calling me out in the media and that, but when it comes to the crunch they don’t back it up. They look to get publicity off your name and then go into hiding and make excuses, ‘it’s not the right time.'”
“One guy called me out and we fought in 2014, that was Steve Moxon.”
In Yao Yi Ma, Hogan is faced with a risky test. While the WBO #11 is slightly disappointed that a higher ranked opponent couldn’t be found, he reiterated his desire for a big fight in the new year. The 31 year old described how “he’s the previous holder of the Oriental title and was out with an injury but I hear he’s back training a few months now,”
“It’s been incredibly hard to get opponents that have a high Boxrec ranking but we’ve done good considering.”
“It is what it is for this fight, after Christmas I’ll be chasing only Top 15 contenders in the WBO, we’re ready!”