By: Ken Hissner
The new WBO Welterweight champion Jeff “The Hornet” Horn, 17-0-1 (11), makes his first title defense Wednesday at the Convention & Exhibition Centre, in Brisbane, Australia. He will feel at home living in Brisbane as he defends his title against his No. 10 contender the British and WBO Inter-Continental champion Gary “Hellraiser” Corcoran, 17-1 (7), of London, UK.
Horn won the title in his last fight in July over former WBC World Flyweight, IBF Super bantamweight, IBF World Featherweight, WBC Super Featherweight, WBC World Lightweight and WBO World Welterweight Champion Manny “Pac Man” Pacquiao, 59-6-2, by scores of 117-111, 115-113 twice, at the Suncorp Stadium, in Bribane in July of 2017. The fight was close enough that Pacquiao has demanded a rematch in April in the Philippines when as a Senator of that country he is on break. I wouldn’t hold my breath on that one!
The 29 year-old Horn has a win over former IBF World Welterweight Champion Randall “Knock Out-King” Bailey, 46-9 and the WBO African Champion Ali Funeka, 39-6-3. Corcoran’s trainer Frank Greaves has complained that Horn has a reputation for coming forward and using a head butt. The allegation is strongly refuted by the Horn camp.
The 27 year-old Corcoran has defeated other unbeaten boxers such as Rick Skelton, 13-0, Rick Goddine, 21-0-1, Liam Williams, 14-0-1, and in July in his last fight over Larry Ekundayo, 12-0.
The Horn camp may be looking past Corcoran having their eyes on Terence Crawford who holds all the four super lightweight title and recently announced he is moving up to welterweight. He is also targeting IBF Champion Errol Spence and WBA & WBC Champion Keith Thurman according to trainer Glenn Rushton. “Jeff has trained for a 12 round bout but I want him to score the knockout. I want this to be a big statement to the rest of the welterweight division,” said Rushton. Horn’s only non-win was against Rivan Cesaire in 2013 but stopped Cesaire in 2014. Horn has never fought out of Australia.
It’s already been announced that American Benjy Esteves, Jr., will be the referee. This writer considers him one of the world’s best having seen him on numerous occasions.
The championship fight will be broadcasted over ESPN 6:30AM EST.