Come 11:00pm in Australia on Saturday night, Dennis Hogan had just registered the best win of his career to hopefully ensure a coveted world title shot – but rewind just three hours earlier and it looked as if the Kildare man wasn’t even going to fight on his own card.
Unbeknownst to him, and after an intense build up and extremely hard camp, Hogan’s WBO light middleweight title eliminator with Jimmy Kelly Down Under was effectively called off.
The fight went ahead and Hogan claimed the win, and details of the drama only emerged in the post-fight interviews. Specifics weren’t forthcoming and Kelly noted afterward how “all I can say it was a very unique but could have been a life-threatening situation. I am very grateful for my team and DDP who worked closely with Danny Leigh from the WBO and Mark Taylor to get the fight complete at the last minute! Everything else will be revealed in due course as I cannot.comment much more.”
Event promoter Paul Keegan has explained that the British Boxing Board of Control raised concerns about Kelly which was what put the main event in serious jeopardy. Indeed the Manchester former world title challenger was only given the all clear to fight while the undercard was playing out.
“The message came through at 6.49pm local time and Hogan v Kelly fight was due to start at ten,” explained the DDP Promotions boss to the Irish Independent.
The unwanted drama began as late as the weigh-in with the BBBofC claiming an issue with Kelly’s medical history meant he wouldn’t be allowed to trade leather on the high profile card in Brisbane.
Uneducated as to what the issue was, the promoters helicoptered in a specialist from the Commonwealth Games on the nearby Gold Coast, who cleared Kelly to fight allowing the British Board to give the go ahead with just three hours to spare.
“It was really bizarre because obviously at this stage he had gone through the whole medical process. He had been examined by a neurologist and everything was in order.”
“Worse still, the BBBofC wouldn’t say what the problem was. We were determined, however, to do everything possible to ensure that the fight went ahead.”
“So we brought in a neurologist by helicopter from Toowoomba and he examined Jimmy Kelly and found nothing wrong. His report was immediately passed on to the BBBC and finally, three hours before the fight, they indicated that it could go ahead,” said Keegan.
While an episode of Flying Doctors was playing in the background and the biggest fight of his career was in serious threat, Hogan was able to focus on the job at hand in ignorant bliss.
“Fair play to Paul, he kept me away from all that. Luckily enough, everything went ahead as scheduled,” added in the 33-year-old Kilcullen fighter
“It would have been such a shame if something like that had scuppered everything because it was such a great fight. So I’m delighted that the fight went ahead and I got a good win.”
Kildare boxing is proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire.