Jeff Horn's first WBO welterweight title defense is official and set to headline a "Top Rank Boxing on ESPN" card in December.
Horn will fight Gary Corcoran at the Brisbane Convention Centre in Horn's native country of Australia on December 13. ESPN will broadcast the fight live at 6:30 a.m. ET, making it the second Top Rank boxing card that ESPN broadcasts in the early morning, after Ryota Murata vs. Hassan N'Dam 2, which had a live telecast on ESPN 2 on October 22.
Burke Magnus, ESPN's executive vice president of programming and scheduling, said the fight will help grow Horn's global profile after defeating Manny Pacquiao in his last fight.
"With Horn versus Corcoran, ESPN is thrilled to add another marquee 'Top Rank on ESPN' match right after the historic [Vasyl] Lomachenko versus [Guillermo] Rigondeaux bout on Dec. 9," Magnus said. "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."
Horn was supposed to fight Manny Pacquiao in a rematch, but Pacquiao had to withdraw from the fight due to his busy schedule as a senator. Horn beat Pacquiao in July in a controversial fight to win the WBO title.
ESPN's live telecast of the Pacquiao-Horn averaged a 1.6 household rating and 2,812,000 viewers (peaking at 4.4 million), making it the highest-rated and most-watched boxing telecast on cable TV since 2006. It was also the highest-rated boxing telecast on ESPN's networks since 1995.
The winner of this fight will be ordered to fight Terence Crawford, who vacated the WBO junior welterweight title in order to challenge for the welterweight title. Top Rank's Bob Arum said Crawford's title shot is tentatively penciled in for March 10 and it would also headline a "Top Rank Boxing on ESPN" card.