Aussie wrap-up for April

Anthony Cocks
03/05/2018 6:51pm

In a busy month 'Down Under' Dennis Hogan edged closer to a WBO title shot after beating Jimmy Kilrain Kelly in Brisbane. Anthony Cocks rounds up all of April's action...

WBO number two ranked junior middleweight Dennis 'Hurricane' Hogan 27-1-1 (7) laid his claim for a shot at the WBO 154lbs title with a 12-round unanimous decision win over WBO number three Jimmy Kilrain Kelly 23-2 (9) at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Australia on 7 April.

The Brisbane-based Irishman, who trains out of the Stretton Boxing Club alongside WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn, controlled the action for much of the fight and finished the stronger of the two to run away the victor by scores of 119-109, 117-111 and 117-113.

“It was a great fight and Jimmy put up a great battle,” said the 33-year-old Hogan, who retained his WBO Oriental title and picked up Kelly’s WBO Intercontinental title with the win. “It was a great fight for the fans.”

At 6' tall Kelly’s height made things difficult for the 5'8" Hogan in the early going as he used his length to keep the home fighter at bay. But Hogan found his range by the middle rounds, investing in the body and using his in-and-out movement to create angles for his scoring shots.

After Hogan banked the middle rounds Kelly came alive in the eighth, with both men exchanging on even terms along the ropes. Hogan claimed the ninth round on the strength of a cheeky left hook early, some stiff jabs and a well-timed uppercut, punctuated by two chopping right hands just before the bell.

The tenth round was scrappy but after a pep-talk from trainer Glenn Rushton in the corner Hogan stormed home to outwork Kelly in the championship rounds and claim a well-deserved victory.

The 25-year-old Kelly from Manchester praised Hogan for his performance. “Dennis is a deserved winner, he’ll go on to win a world title,” said Kelly. When that world title shot happens is very much up in the air after WBO number one contender Liam Smith 26-1-1 (14) withdrew from his 12 May fight against WBO champion Sadam Ali 26-1 (14) citing illness.

In just their second promotion DDP Sports delivered a stacked undercard that provided plenty of entertainment before the main event. WBO number seven light heavyweight Damien 'Super' Hooper 14-1 (9) of Dalby, Queensland scored a stunning ninth-round stoppage of big-hitting New South Welshman Renold 'Dunghutti Destroyer' Quinlan 12-3 (8) in a fight that promised fireworks and delivered in spades.

Hooper controlled the early action behind his long jab and right hand before Quinlan eventually caught up with the 26-year-old London Olympian in the fifth, nailing him with a right cross midway through the round that sent him sprawling to the canvas. Hooper was back on his feet at nine but it wasn't long before Quinlan caught him again, sending him down for the second time with a right uppercut with a minute left in the round. It took all of Hooper's guile and experience to survive the round.

In the sixth Quinlan came out to finish the job and had Hooper backing up for the first minute of the round before Hooper exploded with a combination in centre ring that sent Quinlan back into the ropes. Hooper rallied to take control of the action in what was a brave stand from a hurt fighter who was determined to win at all costs.

In the seventh there was good two-way action but Hooper regained control in the eighth, only to lose a point for hitting behind the head. With the fight on the line both men traded bombs in the ninth until a right uppercut from Hooper hurt Quinlan, sending him staggering backwards into the ropes. Hooper seized the opportunity, teeing off on the teak-tough Quinlan with a two-fisted attack until the referee waved off the fight at 2:19 of the ninth.

Hooper, who successfully defended his WBO International title, was ahead on two of the judges’ scorecards 76-73 while trailing on the third 74-75. It was a brave showing by both proud warriors and an early contender for Fight of the Year in Australia.

Rising cruiserweight prospect Jai Opetaia 15-0 (12) scored another early knockout with a TKO2 over Germany’s Lukas Paszkowsky 9-2 (3). The WBO number 11 stalked his opponent and had him down courtesy of a southpaw left cross at the end of the first round. Opetaia dropped the 25-year-old German with another left hand in the second round and hurt him again late in the same round, forcing the referee to call a halt to the contest.

“A lot of people said I haven’t got the power. I proved tonight that I can bang,” said Opetaia, 22, who claimed the vacant WBO Asia Pacific title with the win. “I’m the best cruiserweight in Australia. If anyone has anything to say about it, let’s work it out in the ring.”

Middleweight Tim Tszyu 8-0 (6) delivered a composed performance against Ruben Webster 8-1, outboxing the Kiwi southpaw before stopping him in the fifth round of a scheduled six-round bout. Tszyu, 23, is the son of former undisputed junior middleweight champion Kostya Tszyu.

In another entertaining scrap Deanha Hobb 6-0 (4) was extended the distance for just the second time in her pro career by Arlene Blencowe 4-5 (2) to win by split decision over six two-minute rounds. Scores were 59-55, 56-58 and 58-56.

Former amateur star Joe Goodall made his professional debut a successful one with a first-round TKO over Lui Te’o 2-8-1 (2) at heavyweight. Goodall, who is trained by Glenn Rushton, won bronze at last year’s World Amateur Boxing Championships in the super-heavyweight division.

Welterweight Nathan Webber 5-0 (2) needed just over a minute to give Natalius Cipong 4-1 (3) of Indonesia his first loss, dropping him twice before referee Paul Tapley decided he had seen enough at 1:13 of the opening round.

Down in Tasmania WBO number eight ranked featherweight Luke 'Action' Jackson 16-0 (7) scored a second-round knockout over late replacement Surachet Thongmala 7-8 (4) of Thailand at the Wrest Point Casino in Hobart on 27 April on a FightCard Promotions show.

Jackson was originally scheduled to defend his WBO Oriental title against Javier Herrera 15-2 (8) of Argentina but visa issues nixed that bout.

“No adjustment physically, just mentally,” said Jackson after the fight. “I had to get my head space in place after hearing the news. It was a massive letdown.

“It’s very, very hard. I go away for five weeks to train with [coach] Billy Hussein and prepare for tough fights and then to have it change a few days before is heartbreaking. But the show must go on.”

The 33-year-old Jackson, who represented Australia at the London Olympics and won bronze at the 2006 Commonwealth Games, has been chasing a shot at WBO champion Oscar Valdez 24-0 (19) for the past year. With the hard-hitting Mexican world champion out injured with a broken jaw sustained in his points win over Scott Quigg in March, Team Jackson are hoping to get a shot at recently crowned WBO interim champion Carl Frampton 25-1 (14).

“I think I match up well with Frampton,” said Jackson. “He is a good boxer and is technically sound. Nothing flashy and is small for a featherweight, so I would love that fight. If not Valdez, bring on Frampton.”

Also on the card Jayden 'Plugger' Nichols 7-0-1 (1) claimed the vacant Australian cruiserweight title with a hard-fought ten-round split decision win over Uria Afamasaga 2-2 (2)

In what was a competitive contest Nichols had to overcome a first-round knockdown before closing strong to win by scores of 96-93, 92-98 and 95-94.

“It was only a flash knockdown and I got straight up and kept coming forward,” said Nichols after the fight. “The game plan was the same [after the knockdown]. Just had to be a little tighter [in defence] and keep boxing and chipping away.

“I kept pushing as I knew I was the fitter fighter. As the fight got on I got better and stronger.”

Next up for Nichols could be a mandatory defence of his new crown against Ipswich’s Ben Kelleher 8-1-2 (4).

On the undercard welterweight Luke Woods 5-1 (2) scored a first-round stoppage of Somprasong Chuenchana 12-16-1 (3) of Thailand in a scheduled four-round bout. Junior welterweight Kurt Finlayson 4-10-4 caused an upset by outpointing the naturally smaller Layton McFerran 1-1 (1) to win by split decision via scores of 39-37, 39-37 and 37-39.

Middleweight Matthew Triffett 5-0 (2) knocked out Supachai Sungpasert 0-9 at 1:02 of the first, while junior middleweight Alex Hanan 5-0 (4) needed only slightly longer to stop Nattanapon Thongto 4-5 (3), knocking him out at 1:08 of the second round.

In Melbourne Dwight 'The Fighting Cowboy' Ritchie 17-1 (2) opened his account for 2018 with an eight-round unanimous decision win over previously unbeaten Emmanuel Carlos 7-1 (5) in a middleweight bout at the Melbourne Pavilion in Flemington on a Team Ellis promoted show on April 13.

The 26-year-old Ritchie, who turned pro surreptitiously as a 17-year-old only to have his first four wins overturned to no contests, boxed a composed fight against Carlos to win by scores of 78-74, 77-75 and 79-73.

Ritchie’s lone loss came in a contest for the OPBF middleweight title in Osaka, Japan against heavy-handed Koki Tyson in 2016, losing a close points decision over 12 rounds. Ritchie claimed the vacant IBF Youth title at 154lbs last year with a dominant points victory over previously unbeaten Kiwi Shay Brock 12-1- (6).

KO artist Kyle Webb 5-0-2 (5) scored his second straight first-round knockout by stopping Nathan MacLean 1-3 to claim the vacant Victorian state cruiserweight title at 1:21 of the first round of a scheduled eight-round bout.

Webb, who is trained by former IBF middleweight champion Sam Soliman, has never been past the second round in his five career victories.

Epping-based Sudanese Korobo Etto 6-1-2 secured a split decision victory over Chile-born Melbournian Franko Valenzuela 4-3-1 (1) in a six-round bout contested just above the middleweight limit by scores of 58-56, 58-56 and 56-58. Etto was coming off his lone career loss 11 months earlier when he was stopped by TKO in the fourth against Sivan Hermez at the same venue.

Former Commonwealth super middleweight champion Zac Dunn 25-1 (20) scored his third straight knockout win since his lone career loss when he stopped Francisco Rios 12-8-3 (9) by TKO in six rounds at the Domo del Parque San Rafael in Guadalajara, Mexico to claim the vacant WBC FECARBOX title on April 27.

“A poised performance and a good win last night in the city where I was 11 years ago for the world games,” Dunn posted on Facebook. “I’ll travel anywhere and fight at any venue to become the world champion. Thanks everyone that tuned in to watch, and the people of Guadalajara Mexico who were cheering for me in the fight.”

The 27-year-old from Melbourne continues to rebuild his career since losing his Commonwealth title to Scotland’s David Brophy last year when his corner threw in the towel after Dunn was dropped from a left hook to the body in the seventh round and was under fire with the follow-up attack. The fight was even on two of the judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage. Dunn is ranked WBO number 13 and WBC number 22 at 168-pounds.

Sydney junior middleweight Tommy 'The Titan' Browne 37-7-2 (14) needed just 1:04 to defeat Puerto Rican Carlos Garcia Hernandez 15-18-1 (12) in a scheduled eight-round bout at the Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada on 20 April. The show was promoted by Roy Jones Jr.

The 35-year-old Sydneysider twice challenged for the world featherweight title in 2005, going the distance with rugged Korean In-Jin Chi for the WBC strap and getting stopped in ten by longtime WBA champion Chris John.

Browne has steadily moved up the weights since then, taking a five-year sabbatical after getting stopped in sixth by fringe contender Leonardo Zappavigna at junior welterweight in 2008. Since returning in 2013 the only blemishes on his record are a draw with capable current Australian 154lbs champion Samuel Colomban and a brutal second-round knockout at the hands of polarising former super middleweight titleholder Anthony Mundine in January. The Hernandez fight was Browne’s second consecutive fight in the United States.

Middleweight Tej Pratap Singh 13-4-2 (7) won the Auckland 8 Championship with two knockouts and a points decision at the Ellerslie Event Centre in Auckland, New Zealand on 28 April.

The Melbourne southpaw won his first bout against Kerry Davies 2-2 by KO in the second round, followed up with a shutout points victory over Harley Love 1-3, and scored another second-round stoppage against Jerome Pascua 5-2 (1) in the final.

Singh was coming off a career-best win over Jake Carr 16-2 (6) in March, stopping him in six rounds to win the vacant WBA Oceania title after the favourite suffered a ruptured ear drum. Singh was controlling the action and leading by scores of 59-55 across the board at the time of the stoppage.

Sarah George 3-4-1 (1) claimed the vacant Queensland state flyweight title with a six-round unanimous decision win over Brisbane-based Thai Monthida Rattanachai 0-3 at the Ipswich Basketball Stadium on 21 April. George was in control throughout, winning by scores of 60-54, 60-54 and 59-55.

At heavyweight Ben Kelleher 8-1-2 (4) outpointed Robert Ferguson 1-5 over four rounds by scores of 40-36 across the board. The 30-year-old Auckland-born Queenslander was coming off a third-round TKO loss to highly-touted cruiserweight prospect Jai Opetaia 15-0 (12) in a fight for the national crown in January that was stopped after Kelleher injured his hand.

Also on the show junior welterweight debutant Kavana Vaotu’ua 1-0 (1) needed just 0:26 to knockout Michael Thornton 0-4. Heavyweight boxer Kurtis Pegoraro 11-3 (1) promoted the show through his Corporate Box – Ipswich brand.

The Dee Why RSL hosted two pro bouts on 14 April that saw Isaac Buckley 5-0-1 (1) score a six-round majority decision win over Zorran Cassady 2-4-1. Scores were 58-56, 57-57 and 58-56.

On the same card Ben Campbell pitched a shutout on debut against Wanchaloem Chanajan 0-3 of Thailand over four rounds. The show was promoted by Astrid van der Sluys of Sydney Fight League.

Also on 14 April Hussein 'Skinny' Dehaini 8-0-1 (3) travelled north from his home of Broadmeadows in Melbourne’s outer suburbs to face Dillon Bargero 4-5 (3) at the Hurstville Entertainment Centre in Sydney. Dehaini was a little too good for Bargero, who is the son of former six-time Australian champion Marc Bargero, winning the four-round bout by scores of 38-37, 39-36 and 40-35. Promoter was Ali Chour.

Junior middleweight Kurt Finlayson 2-10-4 won all four rounds against Kyle Teer 3-18-1 at the Warwick Indoor Recreation & Aquatic Centre in the south-east Queensland town of Warwick on 14 April on a Christopher Fox promoted event.

Sam Goodman 1-0 (1) made a welcome addition to the thin ranks of super bantamweights in Australia with a TKO2 on debut against the vastly more experienced Worawatehai Boonjan 11-13-1 (10) of Thailand at the Cronulla Leagues Club in Sydney. Official time of the stoppage was 0:45 of the second round in the scheduled four-round bout. The promoter was James White.

Junior middleweight Tony Bates 11-0-1 (8) won a four-round majority decision over Thailand’s Wanchaloem Chanajan 0-3 in a surprisingly close contest at the Orion Function Centre in Campsie, Sydney on April 6. Scores were 40-39, 39-38 and 38-38.

In another junior middleweight clash Tony 'Misdemeanour' Senior 10-0 (7) won a four-round unanimous decision over Brisbane-based Thai Aphichat Koedchattuerat 2-23-2 by scores of 39-36, 39-36 and 40-35.

Amr Khaled 3-1 scored a unanimous decision win over Thitiwut Ungsuworapluk 0-3 of Thailand in a flyweight three rounder. Scores were 30-27, 29-28 and 30-27.

Super middleweight Mahmood Bakkour 1-0 scored a three-round win over Supachai Sungpasert 0-9 of Thailand by scores of 30-26 across the board. Middleweight Huzmah Khalid 1-0 (1) delivered a first-round TKO at 0:26 of the opening stanza against Thai Sunun Sangpet 1-17 in what was scheduled to be a three-round bout.

Light heavyweight Abdul Jidah 3-0 (3) scored a first-round KO of Thailand’s Tanavat Umpugarnon 0-3 at 1:58 of the opening round. Also at light heavyweight Ali Elrich 1-0 (1) stopped Ben Nelson 2-6 of Auckland, New Zealand by TKO at 1:49 of the third and final round.

Middleweight Abdullah Elomar 1-0 (1) knocked out Nick Hikuroa 1-8 (1) of Auckland, New Zealand two minutes into the first round of their scheduled three-round bout. The promoter was John Ioannou of JNI Promotions.