By Jake Donovan
Unbeaten welterweight prospect Jeff Horn survived what on paper was suggested to be his toughest test to date, trading knockdowns with Randall Bailey before registering a 7th round stoppage win Wednesday evening at the Convention & Exhibtion Centre in Brisbane, Australia.
The matchup was originally in play for March 2, but was forcibly delayed after Horn (13-0-1, 8KOs) suffered a fractured larynx during a sparring session. He looked as good as new heading into the evening's main event, boxing well early on and even beating Bailey to the punch in flooring the 41-year old Floridian in round two.
Pre-fight logic suggested the only chance that Bailey stood of claiming a win in Australia was by knockout, not a terrible scenario considering it's his served as his preferred method of victory throughout his 20-year career. The former two-division titlist thought he struck gold in round three, when a right hand shot stunned Horn to the point of forcing his glove to touch the canvas, thus correctly ruled a knockdown.
It turned out to be the lone bright spot for Bailey, as Horn quickly recovered and permanently seized control of the bout. Perhaps the most stunning development was the 28-year old local favorite opting to stand and trade with the noted puncher, standing squarely in the pocket in lieu of a stick-and-move strategy that would've ensured a safer route to victory.
His instincts proved effective, as Bailey's corner opted to not let their boxer continue following the end of the seventh round.
Horn improves to 14-0-1 (9KOs) with the win, his first of the year and also a return to his knockout ways following back-to-back decision wins.
Bailey snaps a three fight win streak in falling to 46-9 (39KOs).
Solomon Haumono has now won four straight following a 6th round stoppage of Argentina's Manuel Alberto Pucheta (39-12, 31KOs) in a battle of middle-aged heavyweights. Haumono (24-2-2, 21KOs) - a 40-year old New Zealander now based out of Sydney - is being groomed by his local handlers for a title shot, but struggled for most of the night with the 44-year old Pucheta before finally turning the tide and registering a stoppage win at 2:29 of round six.
Willis Meehan (5-0, 4KOs) collected his fourth consecutive knockout after stopping Riki Barclay (0-1, 0KOs) in the opening round of their heavyweight preliminary. The 20-year old Meehan - the son of former heavyweight contender Kali Meehan and a current footballer for the Sydney Roosters - was quick to the strike, attacking Barclay early and finishing him off at just 1:02 of round one.
All bouts aired live on Fox Sports Australia.
Jake Donovan is the managing editor of BoxingScene.com. Follow him on his shiny new Twitter account: @JakeNDaBox_v2