While Jeff Horn was still celebrating his 96 second destruction of Australian sporting legend Anthony Mundine in their 71kg (156.5lb) catchweight bout last Friday night, his promoter Dean Lonergan was already planning his star boxer’s next move.
And if Lonergan has his way it will involve a move back down to welterweight for a world title fight on the golden sands of Surfers Paradise on Queensland’s world-famous Gold Coast.
The brash and canny Kiwi has nominated American WBC 147-pound champion Shawn Porter as their preferred candidate for the beachside brawl that would take place in a custom-built 7000-seat temporary arena designed to showcase Queensland to the Asian tourist market.
Lonergan has successfully negotiated more than $6 million in funding from the Queensland State Government to support Horn’s hometown fights over the past year-and-a-half and will again be seeking the support of the Annastacia Palaszczuk administration.
“At the moment Shawn Porter is our preferred option but that would mean Jeff dropping back from 71kg which he was last night to 66.7kg at welterweight. But there are 70kg world champs out there such as Jamie Munguia who we are considering,” Lonergan said to the Courier Mail.
WBO junior middleweight champion Munguia is also the target of Horn’s stablemate, WBO number one contender Dennis ‘Hurricane’ Hogan.
The ultimate goal for Horn is a fight against middleweight champion and marquee name Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez. But Longeran knows he has to continue building up the Horn name before he can put the former Brisbane schoolteacher into conversation for a fight against boxing’s biggest earner.
“We have to fight big names to get a crowd,” he said. “You get 30,000 for Anthony Mundine, 51,000 for Manny Pacquiao but we only got 8000 when Jeff defended his world title against Gary Corcoran last year.
“You need big names to pull a crowd but Jeff Horn is one of the most popular sportsmen in Australia and his win over Mundine will only make him even more popular.”
If the Gold Coast beach bash does proceed, expect to see an undercard heavily skewed towards Japanese and Chinese fighters to help sell the broadcast into the Asian market.
Meanwhile Horn said he welcome all challengers.
“I’m thrilled with the win over Mundine and I’m ready for the next challenge,” said Horn the morning after retiring Mundine and picking up $2 million for his efforts.
The money will come in handy for Horn, who has just bought a $1.71 million home in the Brisbane suburb of Sunnybank for his young family.