Jeff Horn set to clash with Michael Zerafa at middleweight on August 31

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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Former WBO welterweight champion Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn 19-1-1 (13) will move up to middleweight to take on compatriot Michael ‘Pretty Boy’ Zerafa 26-3 (15) at the Bendigo Stadium in Bendigo, Australia on August 31.

“I’ve hand-picked him [Zerafa] because he’s the best in Australia,” Horn told reporters at the venue during the official fight announcement on Friday.

“He’s one of the best there is at the weight. So, I need a challenge to want to train hard and focus on a fight, and that’s exactly why I picked him.”

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Horn, who recently turned down a $2 million opportunity to face Ryota Murata in favour of remaining in Brisbane for the birth of his second child, has fought just once since losing his 147-pound world title to Terence Crawford in the United States in June last year.

That fight, a 96-second blowout of Anthony Mundine last November, means the former schoolteacher will have had little more than half a round ring-time in the previous 15 months when he meets Zerafa.

The 27-year-old carpenter, who gave former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook a tough fight last December, promises to be a tougher test than Mundine and is already speaking about springing the upset.

“We’re excited, me and the team… I think they’ve overlooked me,” Zerafa said at the official press conference.

“We’re going out there to make a statement and prove a point, and I truly believe I will knock Jeff Horn out.”

This month marks the two-year anniversary of Horn’s surprise 12-round unanimous points decision victory over future Hall of Famer Manny Pacquaio at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium.

The victory launched Horn’s career internationally, leading to his ill-fated title defence against the pound-for-pound rated Crawford, who stopped him in ninth round at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada.

A win over Zerafa will consolidate Horn’s claims to being a legitimate world title threat at 160-pounds.


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