Aussie wrap-up for August: Underdog Zerafa has his day

Anthony Cocks
09/09/2019 11:40pm

Photo: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

A sensational stoppage win for Michael Zerafa against former WBO welter champion Jeff Horn headlines the latest wrap-up from Aussie expert Anthony Cocks...

Michael Zerafa 27-3 (16) scored a sensational ninth-round knockout of former WBO welterweight champion Jeff Horn 19-2-1 (13) in a ten-round middleweight contest at Bendigo Stadium in Bendigo, Victoria on 31 August.

Zerafa, a five-to-one underdog, dominated the fight from the get-go, dropping Horn in the second and ninth rounds.

Working behind a stiff jab, Zerafa controlled the early going and enjoyed great success with his slashing right cross. Every time Horn managed to close the distance Zerafa timed him with slicing right uppercut.

A head clash in the third opened up a nasty cut over Horn’s left eye but his expect cutman Stephen Edwards kept the bleeding under control and the cut was never a factor in the fight.

Horn had some limited success in the middle rounds but once again the ninth round proved his undoing. Horn was almost stopped in the same frame during his signature win over Manny Pacquiao and was stopped in June last year in the ninth stanza by pound-for-pound entrant Terence Crawford.

Zerafa, 27, hurt the 31-year-old Queenslander in the penultimate round, bludgeoning him to the canvas in his own corner. As Horn got to his feet on wobbly legs his trainer Glenn Rushton climbed on the ring apron just as New Zealand referee Ferlin Marsh turned around to direct Zerafa to the furthest neutral corner.

With the broadcast commentators calling for the fight to be stopped and Rushton apparently in two minds whether to call the fight, referee Marsh allowed the contest to continue.

Seconds later Zerafa unleashed a salvo that had Horn heading towards the canvas again just as Marsh stepped in to save him from further punishment.

Horn was pencilled in to face Ryota Murata in Japan on December 23 if he defeated Zerafa. Now the Victorian wants his shot at the 32-year-old Japanese star.

“We want that fight,” he said. “My team and I will obviously sit down and talk… but now we just celebrate with the team and everybody that stuck by me.”

After the fight Zerafa thanked Horn for giving him the opportunity to break through to another level in his career.

"I can't thank you enough for giving me this opportunity," he said. "I knew ten weeks ago I could win this fight. I knew I could beat Jeff Horn."

Horn is reportedly weighing up retirement.

On the undercard super bantamweight Brock Jarvis 17-0 (15) went ten rounds for the first time in his career as he comfortably outpointed former world title challenger Ernesto Saulong 22-5-2 (9) of the Philippines.

The Jeff Fenech trained 21-year-old controlled the bout with his aggressive, pressuring style, landing hard left hook to the body and head.

Saulong went 12-rounds with then-IBF 122-pound champion Ryosuke Iwasa in Japan in March last year.

The talented Jarvis is expected to move up to featherweight for his next bout.

World-rated light heavyweight Blake Caparello 30-3-1 (13) outboxed and stopped New Zealand’s Reece Papuni 13-3 (7) in the eighth round at the Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne, Victoria on 9 August.

The 33-year-old southpaw was leading on all three cards 70-62 when the bout was stopped at the 2:58 mark.

Daniel Russell 7-1-2 (4) claimed the vacant Australian cruiserweight title with a hard-fought ten-round points decision win over former champion Jayden ‘Plugger’ Joseph 9-3-1 (2) at the Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne, Victoria on 30 August.

The Queenslander won a unanimous decision by scores of 96-94, 96-94 and 100-90.

On the undercard heavyweight prospect Willis Meehan 9-0 (7) was taken past the fourth round for the first time as he scored an eight-round unanimous decision over Attila Kalman 4-1 (3) of Hungary.

The 23-year-old southpaw is the son of former WBO heavyweight title challenger Kali Meehan.

At the Emporium Function Centre in Bankstown, NSW, Youssef Dib 13-0 (6) defeated veteran Jack Asis 38-23-5 (19) by TKO3 in their eight-round bout on 23 August. Time of the stoppage was 2:48.

Australian bantamweight champion Mark Schleibs 12-0 (8) made short work of Indonesian journeyman Noldi Manakane 33-30-3 (18) stopping him in the first round of their eight-round contest at the Melbourne Pavilion in Melbourne, Victoria.

Luke Bunder 4-1 (2) picked up the vacant NSW super middleweight title with a split decision win over eight against Jackson Donnelly 1-3 at Club Punchbowl in Sydney, NSW on 17 August.