Bris­bane’s Jeff Horn is once again rev­el­ling in his un­der­dog sta­tus as he pre­pares for his big Ve­gas fight

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - GRANTLEE KIEZA @kieza­_c­mail

WORLD cham­pion Jeff Horn is fol­low­ing a care­fully con­structed sci­en­tific diet plan and says he will use his “noo­dle’’ to chew up un­beaten Amer­i­can Ter­ence Craw­ford in the biggest fight of his life at Madi­son Square Gar­den in New York on April 14.

Horn, who turned 30 last week, is the light­est he’s been for years for the start of a fight prepa­ra­tion and to make sure there are no hic­cups for the mul­ti­mil­lion-dol­lar Amer­i­can in­va­sion, Bris­bane di­eti­tian Sav Mano­lis is su­per­vis­ing his prepa­ra­tion. He will also travel with the fighter to New York nine days be­fore the world ti­tle bout.

Mano­lis will pre­pare ev­ery meal, drink and sup­ple­ment for the World Box­ing Or­gan­i­sa­tion wel­ter­weight cham­pion, who is rev­el­ling in the fact he is a huge un­der­dog against the fast-mov­ing chal­lenger.

Craw­ford has al­ready dom­i­nated the light­weight and ju­nior-wel­ter­weight di­vi­sions in world box­ing and fight pro­moter Bob Arum has de­clared that the former street tough will likely take Horn’s ti­tle and dom­i­nate the wel­ter­weight di­vi­sion as well.

While Mano­lis has pre­pared a care­fully cal­cu­lated mix of pro­tein, car­bo­hy­drates and good fats for “The Fight­ing Schoolteacher’’, Horn’s strength and con­di­tion­ing coach Dundee Kim says a diet of noo­dles will be the key to vic­tory.

The “noo­dles’’ are foam flota­tion de­vices shaped like ba­tons which are usu­ally used for swim train­ing but which box­ing coaches also use to sharpen a fighter’s re­flexes.

Rather than hold punching pads for Horn to prac­tise his com­bi­na­tions, Kim has upped the tempo with the fast-paced noo­dle rou­tines de­signed to help Horn shock Craw­ford with his hand speed.

“The noo­dles are great for quick re­flexes and fast com­bi­na­tions and that’s what I need for Craw­ford,’’ Horn said af­ter start­ing his strength and con­di­tion­ing pro­gram with Kim at Yeronga as a sup­ple­ment to his reg­u­lar box­ing train­ing with coach Glenn Rush­ton.

“I still haven’t watched a lot of Craw­ford. I’ve seen some of his high­light pack­ages but I’m cer­tainly not over­awed.

“I’m glad the bookies have made Craw­ford a huge favourite be­cause it only makes me hun­grier to prove them wrong. The noo­dles are used to mimic an op­po­nent’s punches and they are com­ing at you all the time.’’

Horn says he is cer­tainly not hun­gry on his diet plan.

“I’m 73-and-a-bit ki­los now, which is the light­est I’ve been for a long time at this stage of a fight prepa­ra­tion,” he said.

“For my last cou­ple of fights – against Manny Pac­quiao and Gary Cor­co­ran – I had to lose more than 4kg on the day be­fore each fight.

“But we are go­ing to mon­i­tor the weight loss a lot more closely this time and I hope to only have to take off 2kg the day be­fore the bout.’’

The wel­ter­weight limit for the Craw­ford fight is 66.68kg.

Dundee Kim has de­vised an intricate pro­gram for fac­ing Craw­ford that uses ex­plo­sive weight train­ing, foam noo­dles and the prac­tice of dev­as­tat­ing body shots against an as­sis­tant trainer spar­ring with Horn and us­ing a body pro­tec­tor like a bul­let­proof vest.

Kim has Horn con­stantly switch­ing from or­tho­dox to south­paw stances akin to the way Craw­ford con­stantly changes his an­gle of at­tack.

“Speed is the key for this fight,’’ said Kim, who is cred­ited with put­ting the punching mus­cle on Horn over the last cou­ple of years and rad­i­cally al­ter­ing the boxer’s body shape.

“Jeff has to over­power Craw­ford but he has to be fast to dodge the coun­ter­punches.

“He can’t af­ford to rush in against Craw­ford be­cause the Amer­i­can is so quick. Jeff can beat him to the punch and Jeff has a lot more power be­hind his shots.’’

Kim ex­pects he will shed as much as 10kg from his own 94kg frame put­ting Horn

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