Jeff Horn training with coach Glenn Rushton. Picture: Peter Wallis
Jeff Horn training with coach Glenn Rushton. Picture: Peter Wallis

Horn’s hands ‘hard as house bricks’

JEFF Horn has undergone secret hand strengthening drills to make his fists as hard as house bricks as he prepares to hurl them at American challenger Terence Crawford in Las Vegas on Sunday.

'The Hornet'' plans to swarm all over Crawford from the opening bell and, using martial arts techniques perfected by coach Glenn Rushton, is ready to deliver the hardest punches Crawford has ever encountered.

Crawford confirmed he would fight in the controversial horsehair boxing gloves that have little padding with Horn declaring the decision made it a "much more dangerous fight''.

Horn said a fighter needed rock-solid hands to use the gloves because the lack of padding was damaging to fists as well as flesh and that his hand-strengthening exercises would give him a decided edge for the fight.

Brisbane's world champ has also spent the last 16 weeks concentrating on explosive plyometric exercises to ensure his foot speed has gone to a new level, presenting Crawford with angles so sharp they could cut.

In his last major training session, Horn showed some of the slick moves he has developed to frustrate and trap Crawford.

His major backer Phil Murphy, the largest private owner of the Brisbane Broncos, said Horn looked dynamic - "like Winx getting ready for a fourth Cox Plate''.

Horn is hitting like a heavyweight.

After badly damaging both fists in fights in New Zealand in 2014 - against Brazilians Fernando Ferreira da Silva and Robson Assis - Horn began a martial arts program designed to strengthen the hands against future damage.

Rushton, a karate champion, started him on dozens of push-ups on his knuckles and hitting hard surfaces hundreds of times to build bone density.

Glenn Rushton talks tactics with Jeff Horn.
Glenn Rushton talks tactics with Jeff Horn.

Rushton is a big believer in Wolff's law - that bones grow stronger under heavy loads - and he says Horn's heavy fists, with just the thin horse hair padding over the knuckles, will be dynamite on Sunday.

Horn said the horsehair gloves "definitely change the dynamic of the fight''.

"They make it more dangerous,'' he said.

"There could be a cut straight away in the fight if one of us lands a clean shot or there could be a knockout. That's what I'm going for, the KO. The quicker the better. I would love to take him out in round one. That would really shock the world.''

Crawford expects Horn to use headbutts and elbows and his trainer Brian McIntyre said he will be asking referee Robert Byrd to keep a close eye on the world champ's tactics.

"He's not the only one that came in headbutting and throwing elbows,'' Crawford said.

"He fights to win so you've got to tip your hat off to a guy that's willing to do any and everything to win.''

Terence Crawford trains in Las Vegas. Pic Peter Wallis
Terence Crawford trains in Las Vegas. Pic Peter Wallis

Horn fired back saying: "I don't intentionally headbutt or elbow people but it's a fight in there and I'm throwing my arms around and I'm throwing myself around trying to hit the guy and sometimes if they zigged when they should have zagged our heads come together.''

Horn was ice cool after the eight-round training session, saying he was relaxed and confident that he would have his hand raised in victory.

"I've heard a lot about Terence Crawford and seen a lot too and I don't think he's fought anyone like me or with the same ability,'' he said.

"I'm planning on going out and shocking him and the rest of the world.''

Horn is unbeaten in 19 fights and Crawford unbeaten in 32.

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