Welterweight world titleholder Jeff Horn will make his first defense fringe contender Gary Corcoran on Dec. 13 live on ESPN at Brisbane Convention Centre.
Horn (17-0-1, 11 KO's), 29, who hails from Brisbane, scored a controversial unanimous decision to defeat Manny Pacquiao on July 2 (July 1 in the U.S) before a crowd of 51,052 at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane in the first main event of Top Rank's exclusive deal with ESPN.
“Jeff Horn not only produced the upset of the year in boxing, he also authored the story of the year, defeating Manny Pacquiao, under enormous pressure, in front of a record hometown crowd of over 51,000 fans,” said Hall of Fame promoter Bob Arum, who witnessed the fight from a ringside seat. “Jeff wasn't just poised; he was prepared and powerful. Now Jeff faces his first test as world champion, against Corcoran, and it should be a helluva battle considering both men love to fight coming forward.”
Horn, a 2012 Olympian, was nearly knocked out in the ninth-round by Pacquiao, boxing's only eight-division world champion, and despite landing just 15 percent of his punches, he wound up winning the fight. The judges turned in scores of 117-111, and two scores of 115-113.
“With Horn vs. Corcoran, ESPN is thrilled to add another marquee Top Rank on ESPN match right after the historic Lomachenko vs. Rigondeaux bout on December 9th,” said ESPN’s executive vice president of programming and scheduling Burke Magnus. “Horn is a rising superstar in the world of boxing, and with the seminal ratings success of the Horn-Pacquiao fight coupled with his performance in the ring that day, he has a large and growing fan base.”
Pacquiao initially exercised his right to an immediate rematch, but later withdrew due to his senatorial commitments in the Philippines. As a result, Horn will defend his title against the untested 26-year-old Corcoran, whose most notable fight to date came against the previously undefeated Liam Williams in 2016 for the British super welterweight title, which he lost by 11th-round TKO.
The Horn-Corcoran winner will be obligated to make his next defense against Terence Crawford, who has held world titles at both junior lightweight and junior welterweight, in a bout tentatively scheduled for Mar. 10. It is rumored the fight could take place at MGM Grand in Las Vegas on another Top Rank on ESPN card.
Crawford (32-0, 23 KO's), 30, of Omaha, Nebraska, knocked out Julius Indongo in the third round on Aug. 19 on ESPN to become the first-ever undisputed super lightweight world champion and the first in any weight class since 2005.