Australian Jeff Horn says he is fit and ready for the biggest fight of his life.
He is set to step into an Invercargill, New Zealand, boxing ring next week to face the terrifying Viktor Plotnykov, a wiry Ukranian giant-killer.
Horn has been battling his way through a line of taller, heavier sparring partners in preparation for the fight. His coach has had him practicing the skills they believe Horn will need if he is to emerge triumphant against the truly intimidating Plotynykov. These include: subtle feints, a right hand lead, weaving, and something only few boxers can do: switching from orthodox to southpaw stance midway through delivering a flurry of high speed punches.
These are all tools to put Plotnykov off balance.
Horn earned the right to face Plotnykov after defeating Ghana’s Richmond Djarbeng in New Zealand on 13th June. And the welterweiht Horn (67kg) believes he will have totaled close to 60 rounds against some of Australia’s hottest boxing prospects in preparation for the bout.
Horn has spent ring time with boxing royalty such as Sam Banney, Adam Copland, Nathan Weber, and Miles Zalewski. On Tuesday he went ten brutal rounds with Reagan Dessaix (79kg light-heavyweight) to prepare him for the much larger Ploynykov.
“All my sparring partners have given me great work,” said a barely out of breath Horn. “it’s a team effort when I fight, and I’ve got a great team behind me. I feel very fit and strong and I know Plotnykov will be in great shape and ready to give his best as well. I’m not underestimating him, he’s a terrific fighter, but I’ve always said I’m ready to fight anyone in the world.
“Plotnykov is going to be a tough challenge, we’re in no doubt about that,” said coach Glenn Rushton. “He just beat (former Commonwealth Champion) Denton Vassell in Belfast and has been ranked as high as number 7 in the world.
“I’ve had Jeff sparring bigger guys all throughout this preparation to make sure he is razor sharp for an opponent who is used to landing punches on the back-move. Jeff has done an enormous amount of work on his leg strength, using a weighted vest in training, to give him the explosive power he will need to cut off the ring against Plotynkov.
“He has been going though 10-round sparring sessions every second day so that doing 10 rounds on fight night is second nature to him.
“This fight will be all about Jeff controlling the distance and shutting down Plotnykjov’s strengths: his jab, his right hand, and his movement.”
Horn is conceding 5cm in height to the Ukranian. Horn is undefeated in 11 pro fights, but Plotnykov has won 32 of his 34 professional fights and has never been stopped. His last loss came in 2012.