Aussie wrap-up: Horn turns the tables
Photo: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images
Anthony Cocks rounds up the latest boxing news from Down Under, as Jeff Horn exacts revenge on Michael Zerafa...
Jeff ‘The Hornet’ Horn 20-2-1 (13) turned the tables on Michael ‘Pretty Boy’ Zerafa 27-4 (16) dropping him twice to earn a majority decision victory at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre in Brisbane, Queensland on 18 December.
The fight was an immediate rematch of their August clash in Bendigo, Victoria that Zerafa won by ninth-round knockout.
Former WBO welterweight champion Horn, 31, appeared in much better physical condition at middleweight than he did four months previously and was much more successful with his aggressive style of boxing the second time around.
As has come to be expected in Horn’s fights he was cut early in the contest, with a gash over his left eye opening up in the first round. It was the same eye that was split open from an accidental clash of heads in the third round of their first fight.
Unlike the first fight when Zerafa was able to pick off the forward charging Horn with jabs and right hands, the Queenslander was far more effective with his pressure. The overhand right proved a valuable asset to Horn throughout the contest.
In a dramatic ninth round – the same round Zerafa and Terence Crawford stopped Horn in in previous fights and Manny Pacquiao had him in trouble – Zerafa pummelled Horn before referee John Cauci paused the contest to allow the ringside physician to examine the cut.
The brief reprieve was enough for Horn to find his second wind, remarkably turning the tables on the Melburnian to drop him twice with overhand rights during the same frame.
When the dust settled after 10-rounds, Horn was awarded the victory by scores of 98-90, 97-92 and 94-94.
"I can't wait until Christmas… Santa came tonight for me," Horn told ABC Grandstand in the aftermath.
"That ninth round, I hate it. It’s a comeback. I’ve never fought a guy and lost, and come back and won. This is definitely up there in the top three of my best fights.”
Team Zerafa argued referee Cauci’s intervention in the ninth-round unduly influenced the outcome of the bout, with
Zerafa’s co-manager Brendan Bourke indicating that they intend to protest the result.
“As a team we’ve sat down watched and re-watched the fight and we have some concerns about a number of things that happened during the fight that shouldn’t have,” Bourke said.
“If the calls to my phone since the fight are anything to go by, these concerns aren’t limited to me or the team.
“Many people in the boxing community have contacted me and have raised the same issues.
“I don’t propose to go into detail at this stage. We have more than a week before we lodge the protest and we want this to be dealt with properly and we want it dealt with it respectfully to both Michael and Jeff.”
Talks are already underway for Horn to drop down to junior middleweight to face rising star Tim Tszyu 15-0 (11) in what would be a blockbuster domestic match-up.
On the undercard super featherweight Liam Wilson 5-0 (3) went ten rounds for the second time of his career to widely outpoint Mauro Alex Hasan Perouene 11-3-1 (6) for the vacant IBF Youth title.
Despite being dropped in the first round Argentinean Perouene came to fight but Wilson, 23, was simply too classy, running away with the victory by scores of 100-89, 99-90 and 100-89.
At super middleweight southpaw Tej Pratap Singh 16-4-3 (8) won by majority decision over Renold Quinlan 12-7 (8) over eight rounds. Scores in the fight were 77-75, 76-76 and 78-74.
In an all-southpaw showdown welterweight Andrew Hunt 6-0-1 (3) claimed the scalp of former contender Czar Amonsot 35-5-3 (22) with an eight-round unanimous decision by scores of 80-72 across the board.
Undefeated bantamweight Cherneka ‘Sugar Neekz’ Johnson 13-0 (6) easily accounted for Singapore’s Nurshahidah Roslie 14-4 (11) over six two-minute rounds by scores of 60-54, 59-55 and 60-54.
Lightweight contender George ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos Jr 18-0 (10) scored a career-best win with a hard-fought ten-round split decision win over former IBF world champion Mickey Bey 23-3-1 (11) at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 14.
The 26-year-old came on strong in the later rounds, dropping Bey in the final frame to secure the 97-92, 96-93, 94-95 victory.
The fight took place on the undercard of WBO welterweight champion Terence Crawford’s title defence against Egidijus Kavaliauskas.
Speaking to Wide World of Sports ahead of the fight, Kambosos Jr said he is only continuing to grow as an athlete under the tutelage of new trainer Javiel Centeno who has been working with for two fights now.
"The desire has definitely grown," Kambosos said. "A lot of athletes get to a certain point, big arenas, the fame and publicity gets to their head. They start to drop off and make little mistakes.
"I'm the total opposite. The more successful I get, the hungrier I get, the more motivated I get, because I know I'm so close to achieving that dream.
"I know when I achieve that dream and become a world champion, it's not just going to be like, 'He was a world champion and really didn't do anything after that'.
"I'm a very stubborn athlete. I will defend that belt like it's my little baby. I will capture that world title in early 2020. And it I win that world title, my first step is coming straight back to Australia [to defend it].
"I'm very, very convinced that I'm the best athlete in Australia. Nothing's changed. I'm out here doing my thing."
Junior middleweight Tim Tszyu 15-0 (11) dominated and stopped Jack Brubaker 16-3-2 (8) in the fourth-round of a scheduled 12-round contest at the ICC Exhibition Centre in Sydney, New South Wales on December 6.
The 25-year-old Sydneysider controlled all the action, landing hard shots to the body and head of Brubaker before the Cronulla brawler’s trainer Jeff Fenech mercifully threw in the towel at 1:31 of the fourth-round.
“That was just a warm-up. I’m just getting started," said IBF number seven and WBO number 12 ranked Tszyu.
"We want world titles and we want them in Sydney.
"There’s always room for improvement. I got hit a few times, but I think I’m getting better."
Brubaker, 28, tried to make a fight of it early but was repeatedly strafed by lead left hooks, right crosses and uppercuts. By the third round Tszyu was banging Brubaker to the body with bad intentions before switching up to the head.
"All credit to Tim he’s a big strong boy. He’s class and I’m looking forward to saying I shared the ring with him," Brubaker said.
"I only had a short time with Jeff, but I knew I had to go to Jeff to take the next step in my career. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the best camp but no excuses."
Former three-weight world champion Fenech – who was forced to undergo heart surgery during training camp in Thailand – said it was his obligation to protect his fighter, whether he liked it or not.
"This kid has been in wars and I wanted to look after him," Fenech said. "He didn’t want me to throw the towel in. He’d still be fighting now.
“Jack will go back to welterweight and Tim’s the champion at junior middle and he deserves to be."
Fenech, who shared a trainer in Johnny Lewis with Kostya Tszyu, highlighted the younger Tszyu’s potential.
“If he can be half as good as his dad, he’ll be one of the best Australia’s ever produced,” he said.
Earlier in the night Kiwi cruiserweight David ‘The Great White’ Light 15-0 (9) stopped former world title challenger Trent Broadhurst 22-4 (14) in the third round.
Queensland’s Broadhurst, 31, appeared to suffer a ruptured eardrum in the second frame, with Light sending him to the canvas twice during the round.
Round three didn’t get any better for Broadhurst, who was down twice more before referee John Cauchi waved off the fight at the 2:36 mark.
In the post-fight interview WBO number 14 contender Light, 28, called for a fight with undefeated Australian southpaw and WBO number 13 Jai Opetaia 19-0 (15).
In an upset, super featherweight Bruno Tarimo 25-2-1 (5) outworked Nathaniel ‘Cheeky’ May 21-3 (12) to secure a ten-round unanimous decision by scores of 98-92, 97-93 and 98-92.
Tarimo is a stablemate of super flyweight and bantamweight contenders Andrew and Jason Moloney.
Super bantamweight Luke Boyd 9-0 (9) scored his fifth straight first-round knockout and seventh overall against Masing Warawara 3-2 (1) of Vanuatu. The fight was schedule for six but Boyd needed just 1:35 to get the job done.
Cruiserweight Jason ‘Warrior’ Whateley 7-0 (6) claimed the national crown from reigning champion Daniel Russell 7-2-2 (4) with a first-round knockout at The Timber Yard in Port Melbourne, Victoria on December 14. The fight was also sanctioned as a Commonwealth title eliminator.
The 2016 Olympian was deadly accurate with his right hands, dropping Russell just 15 seconds into the bout before sending him back to the canvas moments later. A follow-up barrage forced referee Jeffrey Eddy to wave off the contest at the 1:11 mark.
“We worked on switching levels in training, going from the body to the head,” said Whateley. “I knew once that right hand landed flush it was pretty much over.”
Whateley’s trainer Marcos Amado added: “Jason is a coach’s dream. He is a dedicated athlete who lives and breathes boxing. We expected to get a stoppage but probably not within 71 seconds.”
“We are very excited to see what the future brings for Jason,” said co-manager Matt Clark. “He’s an exciting fighter to watch and when he gets someone hurt, they’re out of there.
“We think he’s one of the brightest prospects out there in the division.”
In a welterweight contest Hunter Ioane 8-0 (5) overcame a five-pound weight disadvantage to outpoint Ebrahim Jamasi 3-4 over six frames. Scores were 59-55 and 58-56 twice.
Former IBF featherweight champion Billy ‘The Kid’ Dib 46-6 (26) won a ten-round unanimous decision over previously undefeated Vietnamese Van Thao Tran 12-1 (8) at the Hurstville Entertainment Centre in Sydney, New South Wales on December 21.
Scores for the fight were 99-91, 98-92 and 99-91.
Hot prospect Daniel Lewis 6-0 (4) knocked out Indonesian Rivo Kundimang 9-1-2 (5) in the second round of their junior middleweight contest scheduled for 10.
Junior middleweight Danilo Creati 5-0 (1) scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Mohammad Alavi 2-1 (1) by scores of 77-75, 78-74 and 77-76.
Super featherweight Lauryn Eagle 23-4-1 (13) stopped Thailand’s Siriphon Chanbuala 12-10-2 (5) in the second round of a bout scheduled for six by two-minute rounds.
Youssef Dib 14-0 (7) knocked out Thai Surachet Tongmala 7-14 (4) in the second frame of a six rounder.