Long-odds underdog Jeff Horn has defied predictions and defeated boxing great Manny Pacquiao to claim the WBO welterweight title at Brisbane’s Lang Park.
In a bout billed as the “Battle of Brisbane”, Horn and Pacquiao went the distance across the 12 rounds, with the Australian winning via a unanimous decision.
Pacquiao has raised the prospect the pair will fight in a re-match later this year.
“This is not the best day of my life – that’s yet to come,” a jubilant Horn said immediately after his stunning victory, announcing wife Johanna is pregnant with their first child.
In what deserves to be described as one of the greatest moments of Australian sporting history on home soil, Horn earned scores of 117-111, 115-113 and 115-113 from the judges.
This was despite the fact Pacquiao seemed to be on the verge of victory after dominating Horn in the ninth round.
The referee spoke to Horn in his corner, explaining he was prepared to stop the fight unless the local hope could show something in the 10th round.
Horn must have convinced the referee he had recovered enough as he finished the 10th round before going toe to toe with Pacquiao in the 11th and 12th.
Pacquiao looked confident at the end of the fight, kneeling down to pray in the corner of the ring, before congratulating Horn ahead of the announcement of the decision.
Once the words “new world champion” were uttered by ring announcer Michael Buffer, Horn’s camp broke into jubilation, while Pacquaio appeared to take the result with a degree of grace.
The victory maintains Horn’s unbeaten professional record — he now moves to 17 wins, no losses and one draw — while the defeat is only the seventh of Pacquaio’s career.
-with ABC and wires