THE veins in Jeff Fenech’s neck bulge like sandworms. He’s spitting angry, not with me, thankfully, but with the sport he loves, the sport he feels betrayed him. After a brief but successful amateur career, the “Marrickville Mauler” turned professional in 1984 and 196 days later, was IBF bantamweight champion. Fenech, who went on to become an unbeaten three-weight world champion, now admits the launch from obscurity was hard to cope with, but it was the infamous draw with WBC super-featherweight champion Azumah Nelson in 1991 that remains intolerable. It was his American debut, but the Las Vegas expedition turned sour at the final bell; Fenech looked like the winner to virtually everyone, but it was called a draw. He had been denied a world title in a fourth division. He didn’t know it then, but Fenech – whose record reads 29-3-1 (21) – would never be the same again, losing the rematch as his form plummeted. Now a fit 52, and with all the fearless rage that made him an all-time great, the Aussie sits down with Boxing News.
You were catapulted into fame quickly, which can bring its own problems.
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