Harvey Horn: “I’ve Already Had Four Mini World Title Bouts!”
After years of ambivalence and apathy, the small men of British boxing have become sexy again and ‘Horny’ Harvey Horn intends to be in the thick of the orgy.
Ex-European Under 22 king ‘Triple H’ joins former internationally decorated flies Andrew Selby, Paddy Barnes and Sunny Edwards in the paid brigade where the prizes and props will far exceed precious metal.
The 22 year old native cockney dazzled on his December debut, chopping up Czech Republic’s Denis Bartos in three, then bamboozled Bartos’ brother Patrik over four rounds in his second start last February.
Glynn Evans caught up with him ahead of his return to duty against 16-8-1 Hungarian Gyula Dodu at the O2 Arena on Saturday week.
After being overlooked for Rio 2016, weren’t you tempted to stay amateur and try to hit the podium at this year’s Commonwealth Games on Australia’s Gold Coast or the 2020 Tokyo Olympics?
I was very tempted – two potentially great trips. I’d always thought there was no point us fighters in the lighter weights turning pro unless we had an Olympic medal but the smallest divisions have been generating far more interest lately and it’s only going to get better. Fights like Roman Gonzalez against (Srisaket Sor) Rungvisai are generating big bucks.
Also, I really enjoy the thought of becoming involved in the pundit side of the sport after I’ve retired and a successful pro career would heighten my profile. I always look good in front of a camera and I feel I’m quite knowledgeable.
Given you’re 5ft 7in tall, what weight range do you believe you’ll operate at, throughout your career?
When I develop my man strength it’s possible I could move up to super-fly. But right now, I could still make light flyweight (108lbs) once I get to international level – perhaps even straw weight or ‘Rizla weight’ as dad calls it (!) – but how much interest would there be? I’ve a big following already and would prefer to clean up the domestic (flyweight) rivals first.
And who might they be?!
Already me and Sunny (Edwards) are causing a stir on social media. Up in Sheffield, he was only on the GB Development Squad – the second string, the reserves – and he’s a bit resentful of being in the shadow of Podium Squad guys like myself and Galal Yafai. Sunny only won the ABAs when I didn’t enter! Though he’s quite slick and clever, he was always found wanting when given a chance to step up in the international tournaments. I’m not losing sleep.
Then there’s (Barry’s British champ) Andrew Selby and (Belfast’s Triple Olympian) Paddy Barnes. Fighters like (Commonwealth champ) Jay Harris lack the pedigree we’ve got. Paddy certainly shows no signs of slowing down unfortunately (laughs) but Selby is the main one; a very, very good boxer and a seriously hard bloke. Once, as a punishment for misbehaving in Thailand, he was forced to spar 10 consecutive rounds with Jack Bateson, Joe Maphosa and me…and he absolutely pissed it!
Which attributes specifically will help you advance in the pros and what changes have you needed to make to acclimatize?
My main assets will always be my speed and boxing brain. My heroes as a kid were the slick types like Pernell Whittaker and Roy Jones Jr. I’m adaptable and can usually find a way to win.
But I know I need to be more exciting, more explosive for the pros so I’ve made a few changes. I throw a lot more body punches now. On my debut I took the guy out with a body shot.
To what extent will you’re WSB experience accelerate your progression through the pros?
Massively. I couldn’t have had better preparation. Those four bouts were like mini world title fights against world class opponents….and I won three of them. The refs were very slack, forced you to fight your way out of clinches rather than call ‘break’.
The best I fought was the Mexican (Joselito) Velasquez. I was only 19 and it was a man against a boy. I started well but couldn’t keep him off. He nutted me, hit me with rabbit punches and in the kidneys. It’d be a different story if we met now.
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
I intend to have a fight every two months. After one more four rounder, I’ll be up to six rounders. Mark (Tibbs, his coach) will decide when I’m ready for more but rounds ain’t the problem. The longer I’ve got to work opponents out, the more trouble they’re in.
I’m not seeking titles this year but if I’m gifted a chance at, say, The Southern Area, I’ll jump at it. I just want to get my name up.
I intend to take every domestic title I can before dominating the international scene. I’ve already been fighting at world level for three years, and without vests, with small gloves in the WSB. Most British pro prospects around my weight haven’t boxed at that level.
What can the punters and TV fans expect to see from ‘Triple H’ at The O2 on June 23rd?
A performance just as exciting as my first two; two midgets really going at each other! I like to be economical and calculated – nothing messy –but I’ll definitely be looking to take the guy out. I’ve only got four rounds to achieve that so I guarantee there’ll be plenty of action.