Brisbane schoolteacher Jeff Horn has sights on world welterweight champion Jessie Vargas
WORLD welterweight champ Jessie Vargas is still celebrating the biggest win of his career but Brisbane’s unassuming Jeff Horn wants to gatecrash the American’s party with some blaring chin music and screaming body shots.
Horn scored one of the biggest wins ever seen in Brisbane boxing on Wednesday night, recovering from a punch that would have felled a rhino to stop three-time world champ Randall Bailey at the Convention Centre.
The schoolteacher gave Bailey six of his best and then finished him in Round 7.
Horn, 28, has now put a target on the head of Vargas, 26, a lanky Californian who won the WBO welterweight title last month by stopping previously unbeaten Sadam Ali in Washington DC.
“He’s the one I’m after,’’ Horn said after a wild fight that saw the Brisbane boxer drop Bailey in Round 2 before being nailed by a massive right hand in the third that left him reeling. Horn’s glove touched the canvas as he tried to regain his balance, invoking a count from referee Danrex Tapdasan.
Horn showed recuperative powers worthy of Lazarus and left Bailey heartbroken. Miami’s “Knockout King’’ had given Horn his best shot and the little Aussie battler was still standing.
Trainer Glenn Rushton, who guided Horn through the dangers Bailey presented said: “Randall claimed before the fight that when he hit Jeff the fight was over but I said ‘no that’s when the fight really begins’. It was a sterling effort.’’
Horn and Rushton knew that left rips to the body and overhand rights would bring the shock-punching veteran undone.
The relentless body attack meant that after six rounds Bailey’s legs had the strength of spaghetti. Bailey’s trainer Javiel Centeno called a halt before the start of Round 8.
Horn leaves for a six-week holiday in America with his wife Jo next Thursday while his matchmaker Stuart Duncan and promoter Dean Lonergan begin the hunt to snare Vargas.
Before a world title fight, though, Horn is likely to fight again in Brisbane in August, possibly against Germany’s Rico Muller, who is ranked world No.10 by the International Boxing Federation. Horn is No. 5 and rising fast.
Bailey’s manager Peter Kahn says Horn “is definitely a chance’’ to beat Vargas while Bailey has likely fought for the last time.
“Randall is pretty banged up from all the wear and tear,’’ Kahn said.
“It’s a good time to retire. He’s nearly 42 and he’s had a great career.’’