KNOCKOUT: Jeff Horn beats Gary Corcoran by TKO
WITH his heavily pregnant wife leading a whole country as a cheer squad Brisbane's world-beater Jeff Horn cut down English gypsy Gary Corcoran last night in 11 rounds to retain his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre.
Horn, 29, joked that there is ``always a buzz around the Hornet'' and a capacity crowd of 7000 cheered on the nicest man in Australian sport as he switched to his alter ego, a brutally destructive fighter, turning up the heat on ``The Hellraiser'' from the opening bell.
But Horn was given a ferocious test by the heroic Englishman.
The plan was for Horn to break down the powerful Londoner from the opening bell, get a big points lead by the mid-way point of the fight and then crush all resistance in the closing stages.
In the end Horn needed 11 rounds to get the job done before New York referee Benjy Esteves saved Corcoran from further punishment.
"Too many cuts, " Corcoran said after the fight.
"I couldn't see. I couldn't see the shots coming."
Corcoran needed six stitches in one cut and four in another
``The better man won on the night but I'll be back stronger than ever, " he said.
"I'll learn from this.''
Horn was watched ringside by a variety of celebrities that included State of Origin coach Kevin Walters, New Zealand's world heavyweight champ Joseph Parker and Britain's former world champ Amir Khan, who is angling to face Horn at Suncorp Stadium in 2018.
Khan has a personal fortune estimated at $30 million and on his effort last night Horn looks like matching that before long.
He has a raft of multi-million-dollar fights in the pipeline and is already considering a $2 million offer to fight Anthony Mundine as a warm-up for his next defence of the world welterweight title scheduled for Las Vegas in April against unbeaten American Terence Crawford, who has 32 consecutive victories.
Horn's wife Jo - due to give birth to the couple's first child, a daughter, on January 1 - was resplendent in a vivid blue dress last night as Horn and Corcoran turned on a vivid blue in the ring for his fans.
Horn and his trainer Glenn Rushton had worked relentlessly over the last three months on having the leg strength to cope with a high speed fight and Horn's strength and conditioning coach Dundee Kim had practised thousands of drills for Horn to catch Corcoran coming in with a big right hand counter-shot.
The preparation paid off immediately last night.
Even though Horn had lost 4kg in the 24 hours leading up to Tuesday afternoon's weigh-in and had dropped nearly 10kg over the preceding few weeks, his strength was palpable as his body shots reverberated around the Convention Centre's Great Hall.
But every ounce of his heart was needed as Corcoran gave him spirited resistance all the way.
Horn now has 18 wins and a technical draw in his 19 fights. He scored his 12th win by KO.
The man who proved anything in life is possible, had never had a proper boxing fight at the time of the 2008 Olympics but four years later made the quarter-finals in 2012 after taking up boxing to fend off bullies.
That success was just the start and in the greatest day ever in Australian boxing, he roared back from the jaws of defeat to outpoint Manny Pacquiao for the WBO welterweight title before more than 51,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium on July 2.
Corcoran, 27, suffered his second loss in 19 fights.
He lives in a caravan in a Travellers camp near Wembley Stadium with his wife and daughter and is one of nine brothers, who have all been fighters.
In his previous bout, Corcoran had overwhelmed Larry Ekundayo, one of the hottest prospects in Britain.
Corcoran came into the ring to the song London Calling by the Clash but danger was calling as soon as Horn started jogging to the ring to Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.
In Round 1, Corcoran was down from slip after 90 seconds, then rocked by straight left and big left rip to the body to finish the round.Horn nailed Corcoran with a big overhand right in the second round and then a big uppercut.
New York referee Benjy Esteves warned Corcoran for hitting Horn in the back of the head in a clinch and repeated the warning in Round 3.
Corcoran fought hard, though, with legal punches too and landed a peach of a straight right on Horn's chin in Round 4.
By Round 6 the crowd was chanting ``Hornet'' in a bid to lift him. Corcoran hit Horn with a big right after the bell to end Round 7 but he was landing plenty of legal punches too, especially his straight right.
Eventually Horn broke him down, hurting him badly in Round 10 and finishing it in the 11th.