By Anthony Cocks
Brisbane schoolteacher Jeff “The Hornet” Horn 15-0-1 (10) gave Rico Mueller 20-2-1 (14) a boxing lesson before stopping him in the ninth round of an IBF 147-pound elimination fight at the Sleeman Sports Complex in Chandler, Queensland on Friday night.
The 28-year-old Horn, who was ranked IBF #3, WBO #4 and WBA #11 going in to the bout, simply had too much firepower for the outgunned German, showing why he is widely regarded as the best boxing prospect in Australia.
From the opening bell, Horn monstered and molested the hapless Mueller, who despite being ranked as highly at #10 by the IBF appeared way out of his depth. Horn split open Mueller’s left eye in the sixth round with a vicious combination and sent the 28-year-old visitor through the ropes and onto the ring apron in the ninth, prompting Detroit referee Sam Williams to call off the contest at 2:19 of the round.
The win elevates Horn to #2 in the IBF rankings and puts him in line to face the dynamic Texan Errol Spence Jr. 21-0 (18) in a battle of the unbeatens for the soon-to-be vacated IBF world title that is currently held by Brit Kell Brook 36-1 (25).
Horn said he had no reservations about facing the dangerous Spence, who shot to stardom in 2016 with stoppage wins over former world titleholder Chris Algieri (TKO 5) and former world title challenger Leonard Bundu (KO 6).
“100 per cent, bring on Errol Spence Jr. for the world title,” Horn said after the bout. “I’m improving with every single fight.
“I feel like the higher the competition level out there, I’m just going to box better and better against them.”
The fight was promoted by New Zealand outfit Duco Events and televised nationally by Fox Sports Australia.
On the undercard, former world ranked super middleweight Rohan Murdock 19-1 (14) returned from a 14-month layoff to punish 38 year-old Argentinian Damian Ezequiel Bonelli 23-1 (20) over 10 one-sided rounds. Bonelli was always dangerous but the 24-year-old Murdock never looked like losing control as he pitched a virtual shutout to win by scores of 100-89 and 99-90 twice.
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As reported in this column last week, negotiations between former unified world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko 64-4 (53) of the Ukraine and Australia’s Lucas Browne 24-0 (21) have been underway for the recently vacated WBA title.
But no sooner had the negotiations stalled over the proposed $1 million purse Browne was set to receive, then Klitschko announced on Monday night that a calf injury suffered in training would nix any chance of him fighting again this year.
With “Dr Steelhammer” out until 2017 and Christmas only two months away, it remains to be seen if the WBA can squeeze some sanctioning money out of their heavyweight belt in the next nine weeks to help them pay for the holidays.
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Last week it was announced that Top Rank and Duco Events have reached an agreement for popular Kiwi Joseph Parker 21-0 (18) to take on Mexican powerhouse Andy Ruiz 29-0 (19) for the vacant WBO title on December 10th in Auckland, New Zealand. Ruiz is ranked #3 by the WBO, while Parker enjoys the #1 ranking. Parker is also the mandatory challenger to Joshua’s IBF title.
But as with the mooted Klitschko-Browne scrap, all is not as it seems. Parker’s promoter Duco Events still need to find additional backing beyond Parker’s traditional sponsors to cover the hefty seven figure price tag that comes with hosting a heavyweight title fight. Dean Lonergan, co-owner of Duco Event, rates the fight only a 20% chance of landing in New Zealand.
“It’s a 70-80 per cent chance it will go offshore,” Lonergan told TVNZ Breakfast. “We didn’t want it to, but we have to be fiscally responsible. We can’t lose a huge amount of money just because we want to do it here.”
Duco Events have approached the Government-run New Zealand Major Events Development Fund for support. The fund invests in events of “global significance” and Lonergan believes that with the fight to be broadcast into 100 countries, it can promote New Zealand to the world in a positive light.
Duco Events have given themselves until the middle of next week to secure the additional funding, otherwise the fight will go to either Dallas or Las Vegas.
Meanwhile Top Rank promoter Bob Arum has been spruiking his heavyweight Ruiz to the press this week with the announcement of the WBO title fight with Parker.
“(Matchmakers) Bruce (Trampler) and Brad (Goodman) give him a helluva shot and Abel (Sanchez, Ruiz’s trainer) thinks that he (Ruiz) can do it,” Arum told Fightnews.com.
“Those are the guys that are important, not a schmuck like me. I’m a business person in boxing, I rely on my matchmakers. and they all believe Andy has a hell of a shot,” Arum said. “It would be great, particularly to have the first Mexican heavyweight champion in history, you know, how huge that would be in Mexico?”
As huge as a Ruiz win would be for Mexico, a Parker victory would be equally massive for the tiny Oceania country with a population of less than five million. It’s been a long time between drinks for New Zealand fight fans, who haven’t had a heavyweight champion to call their own since Bob “Ruby Robert” Fitzsimmons knocked out James J. Corbett in the 14th round in Carson City, Nevada, in 1897.
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In another kick in the guts for women’s boxing, the WBC Silver female super bantamweight title fight between defending champion “Shotgun” Shannon O’Connell 14-4-1 (7) and Edina Kiss 10-2 (5) of Hungary was mysteriously dropped from the Fox Sports Australia telecast of the Duco Events card headlined by Horn vs Mueller on Friday night.
O’Connell was less than impressed by the snub and voiced her frustrations on Facebook.
“Successfully defended my title last night on the Duco Events show in Brisbane,” O’Connell posted on Saturday. “Such a good show and very happy to be a part of it.
“I apologise to anyone who sat through the entire night watching on Fox and didn’t see it. My fight was the only fight not shown. I’ve fought live on TV around the world and we get a title fight here with two fighters in the top ten in the world but the girls are apparently still not good enough for Fox Sports in Australia.”
Maxboxing.com reached out to Fox Sports Australia for comment but received no answer prior to going to press.
For those of you wondering about the result, O’Connell impressed with a shutout points win over 10 rounds. The only other loss on Kiss’s record was at the hands of two-division champion Amanda Serrano 30-1-1 (23).
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The circus is in town.
That’s the feeling of most hardcore boxing fans to the announcement that Anthony Mundine 47-7 (27) and Danny Green 35-5 (28) will square off in a rematch of their 2006 blockbuster in the neutral city of Adelaide, South Australia on Friday, February 3rd. The fight will take place at Adelaide Oval and will be televised domestically by pay-per-view channel Main Event.
It was 10 years ago that Mundine, 41, outpointed Green over 12 rounds at Aussie Stadium in Sydney, New South Wales in front of 28,000 rabid fans. The fight was fought at super middleweight and was one of the highest grossing fights in Australian history.
The rematch will take place at a catchweight of 83kg, or 183 pounds.
43-year-old Green last saw action in August when he won the vacant Australian cruiserweight title in a bout against Kane Watts 18-3 (11). Mundine is coming off a TKO loss to American junior middleweight Charles Hatley 26-1-1 (18) in November last year. He has since had surgery on his hip to correct an ailment that he says has hampered him for the past seven or eight years of his career.
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