WHEN Filipino boxing great Manny Pacquiao returns to the ring this April, he’ll have another little-known boxer as foe.
Pacquiao will meet former London Olympian Jeff Horn of Australia on April 22 either in Australia or the United Arab Emirates for the first defense of the WBO welterweight crown he won over Jessie Vargas last November at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
The deal for the Pacquiao-Horn duel has been agreed by Top Rank’s Bob Arum and Dean Lonergan, who was representing the Australian fighter, on Wednesday.
A press conference will be held at the Regatta Hotel in Brisbane later in the day to announce what has been labeled as one of the biggest fights in Australian boxing history.
The 28-year-old Horn turned pro after representing Australia in the 2012 London Olympics.
The 5-foot-9 Horn is unknown outside of his native country, having fought all of his 17 bouts in Brisbane. He was good in his last outing as he beat former three-time champion Ali Funeka of South Africa by technical knockout in the sixth round.
A former school teacher, Horn has a record of 16 wins and one loss, with 11 knockouts.
Horn - who is a decade younger - has already been installed as a rank outsider by bookmakers but believes he has what it takes to beat Pacquiao.
His trainer, Glenn Rushton, said it would be a “tragedy” if the fight happened anywhere other than Brisbane.
“We really hope the Queensland government and so forth will feel the same way,” he said.
“It just makes sense, but also for the future. This can reinvigorate boxing in Australia.”