Making the ring walk for the eighth time as a professional, Ben Horn (4-3) will enter his impending Australian Welterweight title fight against Ben Kite (18-6-1, 7 KOs) full of resolute confidence.
After all, he’s been through a tough battle just to get to the bout.
Already dealing with an infection in the weeks leading up to the April 13 showdown, the 31 year old’s situation was further compounded by a COVID-19 diagnosis.
As a result, preparation at Brisbane’s Stretton Boxing Club has taken on a much different look.
“It’s been a tough one,” Horn told The Inner Sanctum.
“I haven’t sparred anyone outside of our gym because of what’s happened.
“But I’ve had good credible blokes like Cameron Hammond and a fair few of the amateur boys helping me.”
On top of health concerns, Horn has also had to come to terms with the harsher side of the sport of boxing. Specifically, the way in which contests are judged.
His last outing in particular, an eight round epic with Lachlan O’Shea (7-2, 4 KOs), left opinions divided after scores were announced.
That night, ‘The Hunter’ lived up to his moniker. Having been felled in the third round, Horn made clear adjustments thereafter. Fighting in a more patient manner, he began landing the cleaner shots as the fight wore on.
When the final bell sounded, the Brisbane resident was convinced he had won, securing the Queensland Welterweight title in the process.
Alas, those scoring at ringside saw differently, awarding O’Shea a unanimous decision.
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While the result left a sour taste in the mouth, a silver lining emerged no less. Spurned but not dejected, Horn is motivated to leave no doubt over the results of his fights during the rest of his career.
“It definitely upset me that fight,” Horn candidly said.
“A lot of people messaged me, strangers and everything, saying that I was ripped off. I thought I won the fight.
“It was pretty clear and he knew he lost it too. But that’s how it is.
“It added a bit of a spark to the tank, that’s for sure.”
A spark will certainly be required if Horn is to overcome the battle-tested Kite. Across 25 bouts, the man known simply as ‘Banging Benny’ has fought a host of top Welterweights in the Asia-Pacific region.
More often than not, he has also picked up regional titles and thrilled crowds in doing so. As such, Kite has carved out a reputation as one of Australia’s best.
The quality of opponent is something that is not lost on Horn.
“It excites me. I’ve had Benny Kite in my vision for a while, watching his fights and he’s a tough, fit guy,” he surmised.
“It’s one where I’m ready to take the test anyway. Especially with how many fights he’s had compared to how many fights I’ve had.
“It’s a big step up, but it’s good to see where I’m at.”
The contest will also be the first time Horn is scheduled for 10 rounds. Couple this factor with the aforementioned setbacks, and any apprehension on the part of Queenslander might be understood.
His focus is unwaivering, though and his temperament as cool as ever. Moreover, there are no excuses and come the opening bell, Horn will have only Kite and the Australian title belt in his sights.
Everything else, whether it be interruptions to training or past fights, is purely outside noise of secondary importance.
“It would mean everything. It’s a massive achievement, a massive belt,” Horn concluded.
“10 rounds will be a test, but it’s just something that I have to do.
“It’s just another fight. I’m going to go in there with the same mentality and there’s no added pressure there.”
Horn vs Kite is part of Tasman Fighters’ Next Generation card and goes down on April 13. The event can be streamed live via Fox Sports/Kayo here.
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