Jeff Horn had both Michael Zerafa’s name and number as he earned revenge in their middleweight boxing rematch in a bloody war in Brisbane on Wednesday.
Horn scored a majority points win in front of a raucous sellout crowd at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
One judge scored the contest as a 94-all draw but the other two had Horn winning 98-90 and 97-92, as he took WBA and WBO regional titles off Zerafa.
The ninth round hasn’t been kind to Horn in his previous big fights, being stopped by Zerafa and Terence Crawford and taking a beating from Manny Pacquio, but it was the round in which he sealed Wednesday’s victory and revenge.
A desperate Zerafa, who had struggled to impose himself for most of the fight, launched a desperate attack and landed several right hands against a tiring Horn.
But the Queenslander dug deep, finding two big rights of his own to floor Zerarfa twice in the last 35 seconds of the ninth.
There was a twist before the bout when Horn’s trainer Glenn Rushton opted to choose the second pair of gloves made for Zerafa over the ones made for his own fighter.
Pictures of the gloves bearing Zerafa’s name did the rounds on social media.
With loud chants of “Hornet” echoing around the sold out venue, the 31-year-old was much more successful at closing the distance than he was in their first fight in August.
He applied pressure throughout the fight and rarely allowed Zearfa to find the rhythm he demonstrated in their bout in Bendigo.
Horn made it more of a brawl but also used his jab well in addition to landing some clubbing right-hand blows.
Zerafa started to find his rhythm in round three, landing his best right-hand shots of the bout.
But Horn reasserted himself in round four and found the target regularly with his jab in the fifth to open up a cut over Zerafa’s left eye.
Horn started the sixth well but Zerafa landed some good rights later in the round.
The Victorian entered the ring with the Aboriginal flag as a tribute to Dwight Ritchie who died following a sparring session they had in November.
Horn signalled his intent right from the start throwing a wild right-hand in the opening seconds.
He was cut over his left eye in the first round and at one stage pushed his opponent to the floor.
Referee John Cauci cautioned Horn in the second round for hitting the back of the head;
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