Michael Zerafa stuns Jeff Horn in Bendigo, scores ninth round TKO
Heading into the fight, Jeff Horn had been talked up for a big money showdown with Ryota Murata later this year. There still was the small detail of getting past his fight with compatriot Michael Zerafa that had to be tended to before then.
Zerafa made that matchup a moot point, scoring two knockdowns before finishing Horn in the ninth round of a ten round scheduled fight on Saturday at Bendigo Stadium in Bendigo, Australia. The end came with Horn, bleeding and gassed in his second fight since jumping two weight classes to middleweight, going to the canvas after a barrage of right hands landed cleanly with a minute remaining in the round.
Horn, a former WBO welterweight titleholder, face planted to the canvas but made it back to his feet. Trainer Glenn Rushton appeared to try to stop the fight from the ring apron as Horn wobbled about, but the fight continued, with Horn taking five superfluous right hands before the ref stopped the fight.
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The fight started inauspiciously for Horn, as he was dropped in round two, though he got back into the fight the following round by stunning Zerafa. The 2008 Olympian, who had previously worked as a school teacher, began to fade as the rounds progressed and Zerafa stepped up his attack.
The win hands Zerafa (27-3, 16 knockouts) of Melbourne, Australia his biggest victory to date after losses in step-up bouts against Peter Quillin and Kell Brook. Zerafa, 27, has won two straight and remains unbeaten on home soil.
Horn (19-2-1, 13 KOs) of Brisbane was best known for his controversial win over Manny Pacquiao in 2017, and had lost his title in one-sided fashion to Terence Crawford in his second defense. The 31 year old had reinvigorated his career as a middleweight with a first round knockout of Anthony Mundine in another domestic clash last November.
Afterwards, Zerafa, who was not rated by any of the sanctioning bodies heading in, voiced an interest in taking Horn’s spot in the December fight with Murata, according to FoxSports. Horn said post-fight that he felt “sluggish” in the bout.
“It’s really annoying — I hate using that as an excuse. But I just felt like crap going into it,” said Horn.
Earlier in the night, Brock Jarvis (17-0, 15 KOs) was extended the distance for the first time since his pro debut, outpointing former title challenger Ernesto Saulong (22-5-2, 9 KOs) by unanimous decision in a ten round junior featherweight fight.