Battle will change game
Promoter sees bright new future
BOXING: Promoter Dean Lonergan says Sunday’s Battle of Brisbane between Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao will see the renaissance of the fight game in Australia.
Lonergan, the director of Duco Events, which is putting on the WBO world welterweight title fight at Suncorp Stadium, urged all Queenslanders and Australians to get behind the former school teacher from Acacia Ridge.
Some 46,000 tickets have already been sold for the event, with Lonergan, a former New Zealand rugby league international, expecting at least 50,000 on the day.
Throughout the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s Australian boxing was seen on TV across the country.
Australia had three world champions in the 1980s and 90s with Jeff Fenech, Jeff Harding and Jeff Malcolm all holding titles.
But boxing has been losing the battle against mainstream sports and the popular UFC.
Lonergan says, however, with this Horn v Pacquiao fight, the tide is turning.
“This is a rejuvenation of Australian boxing,” he said.
“The country has never seen a fight like this before.
“There has never been 46,000 tickets sold for an event and we are probably going to go to 50,000 plus.
“The fight is probably going to do all-time records on pay-per-view and it’s captured the Australian public and media’s attention.
“I think by the time we get to Saturday and Sunday we would have never seen media exposure like it and this is one fight which will live up to the hype.”
Lonergan said he expected an exciting battle between two boxers with similar styles and urged the Australian public to get behind Horn.
“Both Jeff Horn and Manny Pacquiao come forward and throw a lot of punches,” he said.
“So think this fight is going to be one of the most exciting this country has ever seen.
“My question would be to all Australian sports aficionados – where were you when Jeff Horn fought and won the WBO world welterweight title against one of the all-time legends?”
Lonergan predicts a bright future for Horn if he can get the job done on Sunday and he also sees plenty of good times ahead for boxing in this country.
“I think on July 2 Jeff is going to become an Australian sporting superstar and a star of world boxing,” he said.
“This is a platform from where he can leap forward.
“Obviously it depends on the outcome (of the Pacquiao fight) but I think Jeff can get the business done.
“We also have a great undercard with a world title fight and up-and-coming young boxers such as Canberra’s David Toussaint and Ireland’s Michael Conlan, a star of the London Olympics.
“We have big plans for Australian boxing and this is just the beginning.”