Michael Zerafa shocks Horn in Bendigo masterclass

IT was one-sided, it was dominant and it was prophetic.

Michael Zerafa executed a clear and simplistic gameplan to perfection on Saturday night, putting together a near flawless display to ignite his world level ambitions at Bendigo Stadium.

In the build-up, the former Commonwealth titleholder told the public ad nauseam that he was levels above Jeff Horn, but even the most ardent of supporters would’ve struggled to forecast such an authoritative display.

After flooring Horn (now 19-2-1, 13 KOs) in the second round, Zerafa (now 27-3, 16 KOs) acted with the precision of a true craftsman, showing the stoicism of a fighter that belonged at this level.

“I called this weeks ago,” said Zerafa at the post-fight press conference.

“I said Jeff will fall, I said it, and I went out there and proved it. All credit to Jeff, he’s an absolute gentleman in and out of the ring.

“He’s a family man and to him and his team, I thank them for the opportunity. But I knew, I saw it.

“I knew he was out of his reach, stepping up and fighting a guy with my experience. My style, my power, I knew it wasn’t going to last. I called this weeks ago, I went out there and put it all together.

“I just did something that the rest of the world couldn’t do.”

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It was a contest that was entirely dictated by Zerafa’s jab, with the exception of the third round, where Horn appeared to hurt the 27-year-old.

But as Zerafa revealed, it was a matter of staying patient, and respecting the power of the former WBO welterweight ruler.

“There was one round where he got me with an overhand right,” he explained.

“I felt the power, he’s a strong dude and he’s awkward. I just stayed relaxed, composed, did what I had to do and got on the bike. When pressure comes, I had to move, keep my hands up and it worked.

“This is my division, I’m used to getting hit by guys like this. I’ve been in the ring with the best in the world. I knew that he was going to be strong and awkward.

“We knew we could box and we worked on things that we’re good at.”

The career-best win is likely to present a myriad of opportunities for Zerafa, including the potential to hijack Horn’s previously discussed challenge against WBA middleweight titleholder Ryoto Murata.

When quizzed on their next move, Zerafa’s manager Brendan Bourke admits there will be plenty to discuss, but ruled out a potential rematch with Horn.

“We’re going to take some point and enjoy the win,” added Bourke.

“We’re going to have a look at all of our options. I might’ve already sent an email or two.

“I don’t want to say too much about it, but I don’t think they’ll want a rematch after that dominant performance. I don’t think Jeff will be at middleweight.”

Photo: Steve Dilks/SAA Imaging