Hungry Horn packs on kilos for next fight
New dad Jeff Horn is beefing up for a return to the ring against Michael Zerafa in Bendigo, Victoria on August 31 and says he has renewed power for a shot at the world middleweight title
Horn's August 31 fight with Michael Zerafa is expected to be confirmed for the Victorian regional city of Bendigo in the next few days with a few minor contractual issues still to be sorted.
Zerafa, a world-class Melbourne fighter with 26 wins in 29 fights, promises to be a tough test especially since Horn has had just 96 seconds of action (against Anthony Mundine) in more than a year since losing his world welterweight title to Terence Crawford in Las Vegas.
Horn has been packing on muscle in the seven months since the Mundine fight and hopes a win over Zerafa will torpedo him into a world middleweight title fight almost 6kg above the 66.7kg welterweight division in which he beat all-time great Manny Pacquiao.
``I feel very good at the heavier weight,'' Horn said. `` I'm definitely punching much harder as a middleweight than a welterweight.
``The middleweight world champs are all bigger than me but I feel I have the strength to compete with anyone in the world at that weight.''
Horn was due to fight Japan's Olympic gold medallist and former world middleweight champ Ryota Murata in Osaka next month for $2 million but gave up the payday to be in Brisbane for the birth of his second child Charlotte Lucie last week.
He now hopes a victory over Zerafa (most likely in the 70kg junior-middleweight division) will qualify him for a shot at the winner of Murata's rematch with American Rob Brant, who beat the Japanese fighter for the world middleweight title last October.
``Brent and Murata are both big guys but I know that I can beat both of them. It would be very hard for me to get down to the welterweight division again and I feel very comfortable and strong with the extra kilos.''
Horn has been training for the Zerafa fight for the last two months even though negotiations had not been finalised.
He is also devoting a lot of his time to supporting an anti-bullying, self-defence program which he hopes will be rolled out in schools nationwide.
The program has been developed by Horn's friend Frank Mechler, a martial arts instructor, and Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton.
Horn is an ambassador for the program, the Australian Martial Arts Youth Development Alliance (AMAYDA), which is now active in 20 Queensland schools.
As a victim of bullying himself during his school days, Horn says the AMAYDA program provides confidence and techniques to ward off attacks.