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Australian broadcast blackout threatens to rob Jeff Horn and his fans

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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Jeff Horn’s rescheduled WBO welterweight title defence against American Terence Crawford has run into a snafu in his home country of Australia.

The proposed date of June 9 – June 10 in Australia – conflicts with UFC 225 from Chicago where Australian UFC middleweight champion Robert Whittaker will defend his crown against Cuban challenger Yoel Romero.

So why does this pose a problem? Because Australian pay-per-view broadcaster Main Event has a previous commitment to telecast the UFC show.

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“We can’t show two world title fights at the same time,” Angus Pitt of Main Event told News Corp.

An Aussie TV blackout wouldn’t just rob antipodean fight fans of the opportunity to watch “The Hornet” in the biggest fight of his career, but would also impact Horn’s bottom line. The PPV upside is expected to be worth six figures to Horn.

Team Horn is now scrambling to find another workable date for the fight.

“But there has been instances in the past where an (Australian boxer) has been booked on the same date as a UFC event and they were able to go back and change the date,” Pitt continued.

The Horn vs Crawford bout was originally scheduled for April 14 until the challenger from Omaha, Nebraska withdrew citing a hand injury sustained in sparing.

This precipitated a war of words between the two camps, with Horn’s promoter Dean Lonergan of Duco Events labelling Crawford a “pussycat” while his trainer Glenn Rushton called the undefeated 30-year-old a “princess”.

That didn’t sit well with Crawford’s coach Brian McIntyre, who shot back: “We’ll knock Horn out, I guarantee that. It won’t go longer than seven rounds. And after that I’ll knock his trainer out.”

Crawford is a two-division titleholder who is looking to claim a world championship in a third weight class when he takes on Horn. In his last bout in August he unified the four major world title belts at junior welterweight with a third-round knockout of Julius Indongo of Namibia.

Former schoolteacher Horn, also 30, shocked the world last July when he outpointed Filipino powerhouse Manny Pacquiao to claim the WBO 147-pound title by unanimous decision in Brisbane last July. He backed up that performance with an 11th round TKO of Britain’s Gary Corcoran in his first title defence in December.

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