Hornet backs major bout for Townsville
JEFF Horn has embraced the idea of fighting his next big bout at Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
Horn's promoter Dean Lonergan earlier this week flagged the prospect of bringing Horn up to Townsville for his next fight following last week's bloody revenge win over Michael Zerafa.
Lonergan pointed to Townsville's "fighting spirit" in the wake of the region's floods earlier this year, and now Horn himself is backing the proposal of fighting at Townsville's new stadium.
"Dean Lonergan's a very smart man and he knows people will get around it," Horn told the Townsville Bulletin.
"Townsville's a great place and it's good to do big things for regional places.
"It'd be exciting to fight in Townsville. Stadium fights are always awesome to fight in.
"They have a different feel about them; it's a special moment when you're making your way through the crowd to the centre in an open stadium."
Horn toured North Queensland in the lead-up to his 2017 fight against Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium, where Horn scored a points victory over the Filipino legend and became a global household name.
His North Queensland tour - which included visits to schools in Townsville, Innisfail, Tully and Cairns - left a good impression on Horn.
"The support I received was tremendous, everyone was coming up to me and wishing me the best of luck before that (Pacquiao) fight," he said.
"It was a great visit up there, I really liked the place.
"That's what we like to do, get out to the regional areas, and the more we can do for them, the better."
Reports have linked Horn with a mega-fight against Tim Tszyu, the son of Australian boxing great Kostya Tszyu, although negotiations between both parties over fight takings have reportedly broken down.
"I usually stay out of these things and let others take care of it," Horn said.
"There have been rumours of a fight against Tim Tszyu, but it's probably not going to happen.
"I'm chasing a big fight and there will be a few things to weigh up."
Australian boxing great Jeff Fenech said having Horn fight in Townsville would come at a "perfect time" for the region, which is enduring a spate in crime.
Fenech is also familiar with Townsville, having watched a handful of local fights at venues including the Townsville Entertainment and Convention Centre, and The Ville Resort-Casino.
"For me it's even bigger than boxing; he (Horn) is a teacher, a great person and he's an amazing role model for the kids," Fenech said.
"I don't see why the fight couldn't happen in Townsville.
"Dean Lonergan's the best person in the business and he's held fights in places like Bendigo, so he can make it happen.
"If they bring Jeff up there they would be doing a wonderful thing for the community because Jeff's got an amazing story, and he's the type of guy we want our kids to be watching and being inspired by."
North Queensland boxing product and WBO and IBF super lightweight champion Liam Paro, who spent his junior days at Hawks Boxing in Kelso, is one local boxer who is hopeful of scoring an undercard spot should a Horn fight in Townsville become reality.
"I'd be jumping to be a part of it," Paro said.
"Hopefully it happens and I think North Queensland needs a big boxing event like that.
"People up here love boxing and they would get behind it 100 per cent.
"It would also give local boxers a huge opportunity to get their names out there."