Bat­tle will change game

Pro­moter sees bright new fu­ture

The Observer - - DIGEST SPORT - Phil Dil­lon in Bris­bane News Re­gional

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.”

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