Jeff Horn in Australia confirmed as top option for Manny Pacquiao's next world title fight
Top Rank boss Bob Arum has confirmed Australian welterweight Jeff Horn as the top contender to fight WBO welterweight champion Manny Pacquiao next, with Australia the preferred venue.
The Middle East or the United States are also in the mix for the April world title fight until Horn's promoters, New Zealand-based Duco Events, secure funding to have the fight Down Under, with Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium the leading option.
"The preference for all parties is for the fight to be held in Australia, and we are working towards this outcome," Duco Events promoter Dean Lonergan said from Las Vegas on Tuesday where he has been in discussions with Arum.
Arum says his preference is to hold the fight at an outdoor stadium on April 22 or 23.
"I would expect 3-4000 Filipinos to fly from the Philippines for this fight Down Under," Arum said.
"It will be the biggest boxing fight in Australian history but, until the money is secured, we have to keep our options open, including looking at the Middle East and USA.
"But I love the idea of doing the fight outdoors".
Horn, with a 16-0-1 record, including 11 knockouts, has beaten 10 top 15 ranked opponents on a fast tracked schedule to rise to No 2 with the WBO.
The 28-year-old former teacher, who fought at the London Olympics, is also ranked No2 with the IBF, No 10 with the WBA, and No 13 with the WBC.
Pacquiao, 38, who is a senator of the Philippines, is the only boxer in history to win world titles in eight weight divisions.
Securing this opportunity is a coup for Duco and further evidence of their wise move to align with Arum, the veteran American promoter.
The contact was established when Arum agreed for his Mexican heavyweight Andy Ruiz to travel to Auckland last month to fight Joseph Parker for the vacant WBO heavyweight title, a belt won by the Kiwi.
Horn fought on the undercard and did enough to convince Arum, who was ringside in Auckland, that he would be a worthy challenger to Pacquiao.