Australia’s Fenech awarded world title 31 years after controversial draw

Jeff Fenech has been awarded the World Boxing Council’s super-featherweight belt 31 years after being denied the title in a controversial draw against Azumah Nelson.

Former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson (right) spars with his trainer Jeff Fenech in the ring at Burr Gymnasium on the Campus of Howard University in Washington on June 7, 2005 in preparation for June 11 fight against Kevin McBride. Australian Jeff Fenech is finally joining an elite group of boxers to have won world titles in four weight divisions, more than 30 years after the fact.

Former Heavyweight Champion Mike Tyson (right) spars with his trainer Jeff Fenech in the ring at Burr Gymnasium on the Campus of Howard University in Washington on June 7, 2005 in preparation for June 11 fight against Kevin McBride. Australian Jeff Fenech is finally joining an elite group of boxers to have won world titles in four weight divisions, more than 30 years after the fact. | Photo Credit: AP

Jeff Fenech has been awarded the World Boxing Council’s super-featherweight belt 31 years after being denied the title in a controversial draw against Azumah Nelson.

Australian boxing icon Jeff Fenech has been awarded the World Boxing Council’s super-featherweight belt 31 years after being denied the title in a controversial draw against Azumah Nelson.

A panel of WBC judges reassessed the June 28, 1991 fight at the Mirage Hotel in Las Vegas which lasted 12 rounds and resulted in Nelson keeping his belt. That decision was widely criticised by boxing pundits and Fenech later said he was never the same fighter after it.

“This time it was a UD (unanimous decision) for ‘The Marrackville Mauler.’ That makes a grand total of four WBC belts for him,” the WBC said in a statement on the reassessment.

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One of his country’s greatest boxers, Fenech held the IBF bantamweight title from 1985 to 1987, the WBC super-bantamweight title from 1987 to 1988 and the WBC featherweight title from 1988 to 1990. “It would’ve meant more to me back when I really won the fight. But for them, the WBC, to do this is so special,” Fenech, 58, told News Corp media.

“Far out, it means so much to me.”

Prior to Nelson, Fenech had won 25 straight fights. He and Ghanaian Nelson had a rematch in Melbourne a year later, with the Australian knocked out in the eighth round in front of a huge crowd at Princes Park.

The pair reunited for another bout in Melbourne in 2008 when they were both middle aged, which Fenech won by majority decision.

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