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Horn on course for Pacquiao after big win

AAP logoAAP 10/12/2016 Vince Rugari

Australia's brightest boxing talent, Jeff Horn, hopes he's done enough to impress legendary promoter Bob Arum after a crushing win over South African veteran Ali Funeka in Auckland.

The sixth-round technical knockout victory on Saturday night - Horn's 16th as a professional and by far the most significant of his career - is a huge step towards setting up a dream date with Manny Pacquiao in 2017.

It means the 28-year-old former teacher from Brisbane is potentially just one fight away from a meeting with the legendary Filipino and WBO welterweight champion.

Arum, Pacquiao's promoter, watched on from ringside at Vector Arena, with Horn's fight the main support to Kiwi Joseph Parker's heavyweight world title clash against American-Mexican Andy Ruiz Jr.

"I'm hoping he was impressed with it," said Horn, who retained the WBO intercontinental welterweight title and kept his undefeated record in tact.

"(Funeka) was an awkward fighter but I finished it in round six.

"I know the start was a bit slow but I was happy with the finish so he will be, surely.

"It's just smarter to work your way into a fight like that. I knew I was going to break him down over time, then step that up."

Arum has signed a co-promotion deal with Horn's promoters Duco Events and had floated his intention to bring him to the US early next year to face Jessie Vargas or Timothy Bradley, two other fighters in his Top Rank stable, if he was able to overcome Funeka.

Horn believes he's ready to take on anyone in the world.

"I'm happy to fight one of those big names next. You've got to beat those type of guys to get noticed, especially in the US," he said.

The experienced Funeka had a 10cm height and reach advantage but his lanky frame proved his undoing, with Horn's full-on body assault paying rich dividends.

Horn copped a few early jabs from Funeka but always looked to have the 38-year-old's measure, even after a head clash prompted the referee to controversially rule a knockdown in the dying seconds of the third round.

In the next round, Horn opened up a gash above Funeka's left eye and sensed his opportunity.

He finished the job by sending a visibly tired Funeka crashing to the canvas with a sharp right hand - just the second time the South African had been stopped in his 21-year career.

"Once you see blood you have to go for it. It's like a shark in the water," he said.

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