Horn-Zerafa boxing press conference erupts

The stage has been set for an explosive boxing rematch between Jeff Horn and Michael Zerafa after their press conference descended into a slanging match.

JEFF HORN
JEFF HORN Picture: Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Round one of ex-world boxing champion Jeff Horn's December 18 rematch with Michael Zerafa in Brisbane threatened to erupt on Thursday after their press conference promoting the fight descended into a fiery slanging match.

The stage was set for an explosive fight after Zerafa could not hide his anger over being denied a world title shot by Horn's decision to enact their re-match clause, launching into a tirade every time his opponent and rival's trainer Glenn Rushton tried to speak.

Ignoring advice from his family to retire, Horn, 31, invoked the clause after suffering a shock loss to underestimated middleweight Zerafa (27-3-0 record) in Bendigo in August.

Zerafa, 27, was outraged by the decision, saying Horn (19-2-1) denied him a lucrative WBA middleweight title fight with Ryota Murata in Japan.

And he quickly made his feelings known at the press conference.

"The fact I had a world title fight and Horn denied Australia that, I understand why he is getting hate mail and why everyone is turning on him - I see why Australia hates you," Zerafa said.

"I beat him fair and square but now he's not only denied me a world title shot but also money, a house, things that he already has.

"The worst thing about is we said to him we will fight you again but give us the world title opportunity, we can reassess in February but they said no, so now it has become personal.

Asked who would win the fight, Zerafa said: "Same outcome, different day.

"Horn's last fight will be December 18. He beat a five foot, five Manny Pacquiao who wasn't in his prime - stop living off someone else."

Horn's camp said they had offered financial incentives to stage the fight at super welterweight but were knocked by Zerafa's camp, ensuring the re-match will again be a middleweight bout - and it seems adding even more spice to the fight.

Even the usually quietly spoken Horn seemed riled by Zerafa's taunts which at one stage prompted the ex-world champion's brother Ben to launch sledges as he sat with gob smacked reporters.

"This is round one by the way," Rushton laughed as the press conference threatened to spiral into chaos.

When Horn was allowed to get a word in, he admitted to cutting corners in their August bout but vowed to show the "real Jeff Horn" in December.

"This is redemption for me," he said.

Rushton admitted the fight was "all or nothing" for his charge, hinting that retirement may be an option if he again falls to a clearly fired up Zerafa.

Rushton said Horn had underestimated Zerafa in August, even publicly shaming his charge by claiming the ex-world champ had overloaded on pizza in his preparation.

"But the eye of the tiger is back," Rushton warned.

Horn added: "I am hungry."

Zerafa interjected: "Well go and eat more pizza".


AAP