All too often in modern boxing, a fighter’s worth is determined by their ability to keep their ‘o’ intact. That is, of course, the zero that is attached to the loss column on their professional record.
While some may maintain momentum with a gallant loss to a high-calibre opponent, most are subject to ardent criticism the moment their perfect ledger is disrupted.
Over the past 12 months, the Queenslander has seen a surge in popularity among Australian boxing fans, all of whom have shown appreciation of his heart fueled, fight all comers attitude.
“A lot of people don’t want to fight in the boxing game,” Horn told The Inner Sanctum.
“It’s hard to get fights, a lot of people are trying to protect their ‘o’ or they’re scared to fight you or worried about you. I don’t quite understand it.
“I’ve always said fighters will fight and I’ll fight anyone at any time. That’s what I sort of live by – I get a phone call and I take the fight.
“I back myself every time and believe in my ability and my strengths.”
In losses to Ben Kite (19-6-1, 7 KOs), Nikita Tszyu (5-0, 4 KOs) and Campbell Somerville (3-0, 2 KOs) in 2023, Horn displayed a sense of comfort under pressure, as well as a willingness to walk through heavy punches in order to dish out his own punishment.
As a result of this fan friendly style, the 32 year old has undergone a rapid transformation, from untelevised to must-see action fighter. The Tszyu contest in particular served as a turning point, with the blistering six round main event receiving a major broadcast showcase.
With each outing, a newfound audience has swelled, meaning that Horn has also been able to fulfil another objective, one that goes hand in hand with the need to fight anyone in his way.
He wants to simply entertain and satisfy the many fans, both old and new, that watch his bouts.
“I’m glad that I can entertain people and they can sit there and watch and go ‘wow that’s an awesome fight.’ As a boxer, that’s what I want.
“I just want to put on a good fight for the fans and the people watching. That’s what it’s all about.
“I get messages from a lot of people that I don’t know, from all around Australia saying that ‘you’re a warrior.’
“It feels good.”
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None of this is to suggest that Horn enters each contest believing the result to be a foregone conclusion, though.
The knowledge and skill acquired in these world class sparring rounds will need to be on full display if victory is to be achieved in his next contest, however.
Horn is set to face current Australian Welterweight champion Joel Taylor (9-0, 4 KOs), a rising 23-year-old who has turned a number of heads in his career to date, on the undercard of No Limit Boxing’s May 24 show in Melbourne.
‘The Hunter’ himself, while not overawed, has been impressed with what he has seen from the Victorian thus far.
“He looks really strong, he puts his punches together well and he’s accurate. That’s what I’d sum Joel up as,” he surmised.
“I don’t think he’s fought anyone like me before. His best opponent was Ty Telford in his last fight and it was a great effort to win the Australian title. He fought well.
“We’ll see what happens on fight night with us. I’ll have my game plan, he’ll have his.
“I’ve got some things in my mind to rattle his box up there and change it up a bit.”
As satisfying as putting on a show for onlookers may be, winning still remains high on the agenda.
A triumph of this magnitude, Horn believes, could see further spoils going his way. Handing Taylor his first defeat, albeit in a six round non-title affair then, could see a significant shockwave sent through Australia’s Welterweight ranks.
He will be leaving no stone unturned in pursuit of creating this seismic shift.
“This will be a massive fight. If I win this, it’ll catapult me up in the division,” Horn concluded.
“The way it’s gone, has not gone my way in the last little bit, but hopefully in the future it can turn around. Hopefully this fight will be a big turn around for me.
“It’s been the best and longest camp I’ve had so far. I’m really happy with it, feeling really strong.
“I’ve been thinking about it every day for a couple of months now and I’m training my guts out.
“To take that ‘o’ off him would be so good.”
Ben Horn vs Joel Taylor takes place on No Limit Boxing’s May 24 event in Melbourne. To purchase the pay-per-view, click here.
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