live Infotainment Factory: Sparks fly ahead of Horn-Zerafa middleweight bout

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Friday, 30 August 2019

Sparks fly ahead of Horn-Zerafa middleweight bout


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Jeff Horn is anticipating a torrid test from Michael Zerafa, which will tell him if his pressure style can succeed at middleweight, where a boxing world title opportunity looms large later this year.'

The former WBO welterweight champion will have his first fight at middleweight on Saturday, when he fights Victorian Zerafa for three regional titles at Bendigo Stadium..

Neither man has ever lost a professional fight to another Australian.

Queenslander Horn (19-1-1, 13 KOs) scaled 72.25kg and Victorian Zerafa (26-3, 15 KOs) came in at 72.15kg.

At welterweight, Horn successfully applied pressure though Zerafa pointed out that was against "smaller dudes".

Jeff Horn Michael Zerafa

Saturday's fight against a more established middleweight should show if Horn is capable of both applying and absorbing pressure at a a higher weight..

"That's the test for me, that's why I'm fighting Michael Zerafa," Horn told AAP.

"I need to fight these bigger guys to know I can actually handle it because I've got that world title shot later in the year that's potentially getting offered."

Zerafa said Horn had an awkward style and wasn't averse to using his elbow and head.

"I've got to be first, we can't give him confidence, we can't give him room to move and bully us," Zerafa told AAP.

He has needled Horn throughout the build-up and tossed more barbs his way on Friday.

Michael Zerafa

"I just saw a weak person," he doesn't look fit," Zerafa said .

Horn chuckled when he heard that remark and also rejected Zerafa's assertion that being heavier would make him slower, saying trainer Glenn Rushton had worked hard on his legs and he hadn't lost any mobility.

He's adamant he isn't being distracted by the prospect of a mooted world title shot on December 23 in Japan against WBA regular middleweight champion Ryota Murata.

"It's always there but you do have your partitions in your brain that is shut off for a while," Horn said.

Defeat would be costly for Horn.

Jeff Horn

"It's an incredibly important fight for Jeff. Obviously there's massive differences of paydays going forward." Horn's promoter Dean Lonergan told AAP.

"If we lose this it's a much harder road to hoe."

Zerafa was stopped in five rounds by former WBO middleweight world champion Peter Qullin in 2015 and was outpointed by former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook late last year.

"I've had ten weeks with a sports psychologist and mentally I'm on another level," Zerafa said.

"When I fought Kell Brook in England, I felt nerves, I had doubt, I don't have any of that now."

Jeff Horn is anticipating a torrid test from Michael Zerafa, which will tell him if his pressure style can succeed at middleweight, where a boxing world title opportunity looms large later this year.'

The former WBO welterweight champion will have his first fight at middleweight on Saturday, when he fights Victorian Zerafa for three regional titles at Bendigo Stadium..

Neither man has ever lost a professional fight to another Australian.

Queenslander Horn (19-1-1, 13 KOs) scaled 72.25kg and Victorian Zerafa (26-3, 15 KOs) came in at 72.15kg.

At welterweight, Horn successfully applied pressure though Zerafa pointed out that was against "smaller dudes".

Jeff Horn Michael Zerafa

Saturday's fight against a more established middleweight should show if Horn is capable of both applying and absorbing pressure at a a higher weight..

"That's the test for me, that's why I'm fighting Michael Zerafa," Horn told AAP.

"I need to fight these bigger guys to know I can actually handle it because I've got that world title shot later in the year that's potentially getting offered."

Zerafa said Horn had an awkward style and wasn't averse to using his elbow and head.

"I've got to be first, we can't give him confidence, we can't give him room to move and bully us," Zerafa told AAP.

He has needled Horn throughout the build-up and tossed more barbs his way on Friday.

Michael Zerafa

"I just saw a weak person," he doesn't look fit," Zerafa said .

Horn chuckled when he heard that remark and also rejected Zerafa's assertion that being heavier would make him slower, saying trainer Glenn Rushton had worked hard on his legs and he hadn't lost any mobility.

He's adamant he isn't being distracted by the prospect of a mooted world title shot on December 23 in Japan against WBA regular middleweight champion Ryota Murata.

"It's always there but you do have your partitions in your brain that is shut off for a while," Horn said.

Defeat would be costly for Horn.

Jeff Horn

"It's an incredibly important fight for Jeff. Obviously there's massive differences of paydays going forward." Horn's promoter Dean Lonergan told AAP.

"If we lose this it's a much harder road to hoe."

Zerafa was stopped in five rounds by former WBO middleweight world champion Peter Qullin in 2015 and was outpointed by former IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook late last year.

"I've had ten weeks with a sports psychologist and mentally I'm on another level," Zerafa said.

"When I fought Kell Brook in England, I felt nerves, I had doubt, I don't have any of that now."

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