Jeff Horn has to decide whether he has the hunger to to do the harder preparation demanded by his trainer Glenn Rushton to rebuild his boxing career after his upset loss to Michael Zerafa.
Horn’s mooted December 23 clash with WBA regular middleweight champion Ryota Murata in Japan looks to be off the table after he was stopped in the ninth round at Bendigo Stadium on Saturday night.
Zerafa knocked the former WBO welterweight down twice and was leading on all the judges cards by at least three points at the time of the stoppage.
While there was a a rematch clause in the contact, Horn isn’t sure if he will exercise it, go down to super welterweight or welterweight, or even retire.
“I definitely don’t want to be doing this game for too long that’s for sure, you don’t want to be battered up and bruised,” Horn said.
Rushton says it’s a matter of hunger and preparation for Horn, not talent. Horn said he had to reassess whether he still had the hunger to continue.
“I’ve got to do some soul searching and see if I’ve got what it takes in myself to do hard preparation and get ready for another big fight like this,” Horn said.
Rushton made it clear Horn would have to work significantly harder and look at his diet, especially if he wanted to stay at middleweight.
“’We’ve got to sit sown and have that long, hard talk and say exactly what does that look like, diet-wise work-wise and really put the effort in,” Rushton said.
“If it’s going to be at middleweight it means we’ve got to change the body structure a little bit and not eat pizzas and drink Coke.
“Middleweight to me doesn’t mean that you eat whatever you want, it means that you’ve obviously got to be very disciplined.. I think Jeff realises, you’ve got to have that lean muscle mass, at middle and you’ve got to be a ripped middle, which means a lot of hard work if you want to go that route.”
Horn questioned his food intake in the hours leading up to the fight and said he felt sluggish during the bout.
“’I felt like I couldn’t get my shots off, they weren’t landing as good as I wanted, it was frustrating me from pretty much the beginning,” he said.
Rushton said Horn had just an eight-week preparation after taking three weeks off for the birth of his second child and needed everything to go right, but suffered from sniffles and a sore throat last Monday.
“I don’t want to use the excuse: ‘I’ve been sick’, all props to Michael Zerafa for winning the fight,” Horn said.
Zerafa dictated terms with his jab and right hand and rarely allowed Horn to pressure him inside, though he admitted he was hurt by a shot in the third round.