Zerafa confirms boxing rematch with Horn

Adrian Warren
Boxers Michael Zerafa (left) and Jeff Horn will meet again in the ring in Brisbane next month

Michael Zerafa has confirmed his rematch with Jeff Horn next month is on, and he has vowed to send the former WBO welterweight boxing champion into retirement.

Zerafa beat Horn in a middleweight bout in Bendigo in August, but there was uncertainty over whether he would be ready for the rematch in Brisbane after father-of-three Dwight Ritchie died after collapsing during their sparring session earlier this month.

"It was a tragic day, it was a sad day, but for me my main focus is December 18. It never crossed my mind to not fight Jeff," Zerafa said.

Zerafa said he had received a lot of support from Ritchie's family, he would be attending his funeral on Monday in Shepparton, and the bout would be in his honour.

"Without the love and support I got from everybody it would have been a lot harder, so I appreciate everyone that reached out," Zerafa said.

He said the tragedy had not impacted on his preparation for the fight.

"There was no pause in my training, as sad it was the next morning we were up and training and doing what we had to do," Zerafa said.

"We're focused , this is a big fight, a must win for us. He (Horn) will retire December 18, mark my words."

Horn said he was devastated for Ritchie's family and his death hit home as he also had a wife and young children.

"It did scare us, I thought about Michael and how he would be feeling, I thought that would be a hard thing," Horn said.

"I had no idea of the circumstances of what exactly happened at the sparring session, but from what I know it was nothing to do with Michael's fault and I guess if he's happy to fight, I'm happy to fight on too."

Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton likes what he's seeing from his charge.

"As far as hunger goes, the mongrel I'm starting to see in Jeff Horn now ... he literally is a junkyard dog," Rushton said.

While Horn was the favourite for the first fight, despite moving up to middleweight, he acknowledged that wouldn't be the case for the rematch.

"I'm definitely the underdog for this one. No-one that can take that first fight away from Michael so he deserves to be favourite," he said.