Horn lands a fine left-right combo
BRILLIANT Queensland boxing prospect Liam Paro will be one of the chief sparring partners for Jeff Horn as the world welterweight champ ramps up his training next week ahead of his New York superfight with Terence Crawford.
Paro will join Olympians Cameron Hammond and Paul Fleming, world No. 4 junior-middleweight Dennis Hogan and former Australian amateur champ Nathan Webber as the cornerstones for Horn's preparation.
Horn's trainer Glenn Rushton, still waiting to finalise the contract for the bout, is also planning on bringing a leading American to Brisbane as a sparring partner for the April 14 fight that could well be Australia's biggest sporting moment of 2018.
Horn, who famously ripped the world title from all-time great Manny Pacquiao at Suncorp Stadium last July, faces the undefeated Crawford at New York's Madison Square Garden. He is an overwhelming underdog against the ambidextrous American who is undefeated in 32 fights.
Paro, who is unbeaten in 12 pro bouts, was one of Horn's sparring partners for the Pacquiao fight and Horn said he was grateful for the "terrific work'' the rising star gave him.
"Liam's a really slick boxer, very clever," Horn said.
"He's an awkward southpaw and Crawford fights a lot from a southpaw stance so I'm preparing against both left-handed and right-handed fighters.
"Crawford is a very good boxer, obviously, but I think there are a lot of fighters with similar speed and talent to him, so I'm certainly not overawed. It will be good to prove the critics wrong just like I did against Pacquiao when so many people said I didn't stand a chance.''
Paro will fight for his first Australian title on March 17 at the Mansfield Tavern when he tackles English-born Melbourne boxer Andrew Wallace.
On the same card, big-punching cruiserweight Mark Flanagan, who went the distance with world champ Denis Lebedev in Russia last year, faces Mauricio Barragan of Uruguay.
Cruiserweight Aaron Russell faces Tino Honey, junior-middleweight Adrian Rodriguez tackles Billy Limov and welterweight Justin Frost goes in against Jacob Ng.
Meanwhile, Horn's stablemate, Commonwealth Games silver medallist Joe Goodall will make his pro debut on April 7 at the Brisbane Convention Centre against Perth-based Kiwi Filipo Fonoti Masoe.
Goodall was a shock omission from this year's Games squad after an interrupted preparation but had a close fight with three-time world champion Magomedrasul Majidov of Azerbaijan at the world titles in Hamburg last year.
Goodall came away with a bronze medal after dropping a split decision in the semi-finals to Majidov, who beat beating England's world champ Anthony Joshua early in his career.