Patrick McKendry is a rugby and boxing writer for the Herald.

Boxing: Teacher packs a big punch

Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Brisbane secondary school teacher Jeff Horn is also the fighter known as The Hornet.

As one of Australia's best boxing prospects - he won two fights at the last Olympics before being beaten by eventual silver medallist, Ukrainian Denis Berinchik - Horn, 26, wants a world title fight next year.

He has Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather in his sights and a victory against Brazilian Fernando Ferreira da Silva on the undercard of tonight's Joseph Parker v Brian Minto main event will keep him on track.

While his day job might be unorthodox given his other ambitions, Horn, who has an almost flawless eight-fight, seven-win, one-draw (the blemish due to an accidental head clash) professional record, took a relatively familiar road to the ring.

"I got in a bit of trouble at high school," he said this week. "I got picked on and bullied. I just decided to go along to training one day and hit pads and spar, and Glenn [Rushton] has come up to me and said 'you've got lots of ability, I reckon I could take you to the Olympics one day and make you world champion'.

He's got me halfway there so far."

One of the most exciting things about Horn is his knockout record (six in eight fights, including a 78-second stoppage of former Commonwealth title challenger Samuel Colomban).

His trainer Rushton, who is still with him, has instilled a scientific approach which is as clinical as it is ruthless. In order to fast-track his career, the Australians are close to signing with New Zealand promoters Duco Events, the backers of, most notably, Parker and Robert Berridge.

"Fernando is a great fighter ... this is going to be a punchers' fight, a great fight," Rushton said. "He's got a 66 per cent KO record, Jeff has a 75 per cent KO record." Asked if his sport and profile made him popular with his students, he said: "At times, yeah, when they feel like it. A lot of them do like what I do."

- NZ Herald

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