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Horn out to impress iconic US promoter

AAP logoAAP 8/11/2016 Vince Rugari

Jeff Horn will fight in front of an audience of millions next month but there's only one man the rising Australian welterweight wants to impress: American promoter Bob Arum.

One of boxing's most influential figures, Arum will be ringside for Horn's next bout, which has been locked in for December 10 in Auckland as part of the undercard for Kiwi Joseph Parker's world title clash against Mexican-American Andy Ruiz.

Currently ranked No.2 in the IBF and No.4 in the WBO, the undefeated Horn (15-0-1) will take on South African veteran Ali Funeka (39-5-3) in what shapes as a crucial fight towards his push for a world title shot in 2017.

Gaining legitimacy in the eyes of Arum, who started his career organising Muhammad Ali's earliest fights, is his top priority.

The 84-year-old is the promoter for Ruiz but also looks after the WBO's top three ranked welterweights in the legendary Manny Pacquiao, Timothy Bradley and Jessie Vargas.

Pacquiao returned from a seven-month absence to defeat Vargas on Sunday and capture the WBO welterweight title for the third time.

However, Horn is also waiting on a decision from IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook, who is considering vacating the title so he can switch weight divisions.

If that were to occur, Horn could potentially face Errol Spence for the vacant belt.

"It's 50-50, it's whatever opportunity comes first, I'll take," Horn told AAP.

"If that happens, so be it, or if Pacquiao somehow relinquishes or retires, or I could possibly fight him for a world title.

"If I can impress a guy like Bob Arum, that will put me in a good spot in America when promotions start happening over there."

Arum appears to have bigger priorities than Horn at the moment, after claiming on Monday it was "75 per cent" likely Pacquiao would fight Floyd Mayweather in a long-awaited rematch.

Brook, meanwhile, has signalled his interest in a unification fight against Pacquiao.

With so much up in the air, Horn's back-up plan is simple - keep winning until he forces a mandatory challenge.

After cruising past German Rico Mueller in Brisbane last month, the 28-year-old former schoolteacher believes he has picked the right match-up in Funeka, who at 185cm will be the tallest opponent of his career.

"I've fought boxers, I've fought fighters, the last guy was a defensive-type," Horn said.

"It's just good getting all these styles mixing up to set me up for a world title fight."

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