The spots have risen dramatically for Jeff Horn’s next start in Saturday’s clash against Michael Zerfa in Benigo.
Top-ranked promoter Bob Aurum confirmed yesterday that he had agreed a deal with Horn promoter Dean Lonergan that could result in Australian challenging Japanese WBA (regular) middleweight champion Ryota Murata on December 23 in Japan.
The only hurdle is Zeraffa, who will have to beat 6-year-old Horn in Bendigo to make sure the fight against Maura goes ahead.
“If he wins the 5th, everything has been arranged to fight Murtha,” the Australian told the Weekend Australian from the Bahamas. “I made a deal with Dean and I talked to (Horn’s trainer) Glen Rushan. The fight will take place just before Christmas.
“If he loses the fight against Zeraffa, he unfortunately won’t be able to use it. So hopefully he comes through. Dean says he is confident that Horn will win the fight and then gets a shot at the middleweight title.
“I think Horn will do well with Maura. I don’t know if he’ll kill her. Horn has a real coming-of-age style and takes a really good punch. If you take a good punch against Murta, you can probably outrun him. It’s a really tough fight but I think he has a chance to win. ”
The 7-year-old Murtha won the London Olympics at the 2012 London Olympics, competing in the same games as the light-welterweight. He has won 15 of his 17 fights since becoming a professional and regained his world title with a second-round knock-out of American Robert Brent in the final composition.
Before that, his only defeat was against Hassan Endam Enzykam in Cameroon two years ago.
The Horns have won 19 of their 21 fights, their only loss to American superstar Terrence Crawford in Las Vegas last year. Since then he has only fought once – the first round knockout of Anthony Mundine in Brisbane nearly nine months ago. 2-year-old Jarfa’s return to the ring may be unrelenting in his hopes of returning to the world title. “This fight is incredibly important to us,” Lonergan said.
“With just one point ahead of the Mundine fight, Jeff has never had a real one-year test.
“It’s a tune-up fight for Jeff and it’s a tough fight for Jeff
“Jeff can’t afford to split here because, first of all, it’s a legacy fight – we will fight Murtha in the middleweight to give him a chance to win two weight categories.
“Second, Jeff’s salary is at seven when he goes to Japan. Jeff has a small amount of time left and we need to make the most of it. As his preacher, I am concerned about the fight (against Zerfarfa). He was chosen because he is the best in Australia. Team Sizu might think it’s best but this block will devour him.
“Tim had to fight like his old man (Costa Siziu) used to fight, not be trained by his mother.”
Lonergan went to Japan to see Murata after defeating Brant and acknowledged that the Japanese champion will be a tough opponent
“Murata just went ahead and dropped the bomb,” Lonergan said. “He was just blocked out in the second round. I think Murata’s fight in Japan will be tough, but we have to go through this fight first. ”
Arum will be in London next weekend to watch his charge, with lightweight world champion Vasil Lomachenko of Ukraine facing England’s Luke Campbell but he plans to watch the Horn fight.
“I like him as a fighter and person,” Arum said.
“He’s terrific. He is very friendly … He has everything he has. “