AFP: Boxer Jeff Horn’s stunning upset of Filipino great Manny Pacquiao has earned him one of Australia’s top sporting honours as the most inspirational athlete of the year.
The unheralded 29-year-old stunned the boxing world with a unanimous 12-round decision over Pacquiao in Brisbane on July 2 in a hotly contested result that rattled the Philippines.
In recognition, he walked away with ‘The Don’ award at the annual Sport Australia Hall Of Fame dinner in Melbourne on Thursday evening.
Named after cricketer Donald Bradman, prior winners of the prize include swimmer Ian Thorpe, runner Cathy Freeman, cyclist Cadel Evans, hurdler Sally Pearson, golfer Jason Day and last year’s recipient jockey Michelle Payne.
“It is massive,” Horn said, calling it a career highlight.
“I can remember growing up being inspired by previous winners such as Cathy Freeman and Ian Thorpe.
“To know I am potentially inspiring the future generation of athletes like these guys have done for me is an incredible feeling.”
Horn said he still sometimes found it hard to believe he took down one of the world’s greatest ever fighters, who has won world titles in an unprecedented eight weight divisions.
“Many days I have thought to myself, did that really happen? It’s been very hectic since the win but recognition and awards like this certainly help,” he said.
Pacquiao pulled out of a planned rematch in Australia later his year, with Horn close to finalising another opponent to defend his World Boxing Organisation welterweight title.
Englishman Gary Corcoran is shaping up as the most likely challenger, with the fight expected to be in Brisbane in December, local reports have said.
Tyson Fury promises ‘three big fights’ in 2018
AFP: Britain’s troubled former heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury said Thursday he will return to the ring in April and is looking forward to “three big fights” in 2018.
The 29-year-old has not fought since his shock defeat of Wladimir Klitschko to win the WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles in November 2015.
Fury had his licence suspended last October when he admitted he was using cocaine and struggling with depression, and last week said he would not apply for a new one.
But he wrote on Twitter on Thursday that he would “be ready to fight in April 2018 in a great fight”.
He added he would then take part “in the summer in a mega fight” and return again at the “back end” of the year.
Fury, who twice postponed rematches with Klitschko, had hoped to return to the ring earlier this year but that plan was scuppered when his UK Anti-Doping hearing was adjourned in May.
He was at ringside last month when his cousin Hughie Fury came up short in his bid to take the WBO heavyweight title from champion Joseph Parker in Manchester.