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Aussie boxer Horn using unusual headgear

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World-ranked Australian welterweight boxer Jeff Horn is using a protective mask in training which makes him look like a cross between fearsome fictional movie characters Darth Vader and Hannibal Lecter.

Queenslander Horn, rated No.3 by the IBF, will fight 10th-ranked Rico Mueller of Germany on October 21 in Brisbane .

A win would propel the 28-year-old into the No.2 spot.

Determined to avoid any facial injuries to his charge, Horn's trainer and manager Glenn Rushton has co-designed headgear to help cover his fighter's head.

"I jokingly say we've put him in there because he gets real toey at this stage and, last week, we've got to put the muzzle on him," Rushton joked.

"I had a special Hannibal Lecter-Darth Vader mask made up which we've just used a little bit in the last couple of spars to protect Jeff.

"You push really hard and all these little aids help just to make sure you minimise any injuries.

"We're doing everything we can to make sure, when he steps out there on the 21st, he's in brilliant shape and delivers the goods and does Australia proud."

Rushton wants Horn (14-0-1, 9 KOs) to make a statement by being the first professional fighter to stop Mueller (20-1-1, 14 KOs), who has won 11 straight since his only loss six years ago.

"I'd dearly love to see that happen, a very very convincing win," Rushton said.

"I think Jeff needs that now to establish himself in the position that he's in as the No.3 and and soon-to-be No.2 in the world."

Horn and Rushton are waiting to see if defending IBF welterweight champion Kell Brook will remain in the division.

Briton Brook performed gallantly when he went up two divisions recently to challenge middleweight supremo Gennady Golovkin.

Brook lost the bout and suffered a broken eye socket and had still to decide whether to return to welterweight or campaign at middleweight or junior middleweight.

Rushton had no issues about Horn facing the unbeaten IBF No.1 contender Errol Spence Jr, if Brook vacates the title.

"He (Spence) is tough, he can really punch but I can see chinks in his armour," Rushton said.

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