By Ray Wheatley — World of Boxing
Jeff Fenech has been named as Australia’s greatest ever boxer, just ahead of Kostya Tszyu and Lionel Rose. A new glossy magazine entitled “The Greatest” hits Australian news stands this week naming the top 50 Australian fighters of all time going back to 19th century greats such as Peter Jackson and Young Griffo. Fenech won the IBF bantamweight, WBC super-bantamweight and WBC featherweight titles and was considered desperately unlucky not to take the WBC super-featherweight title from Azumah Nelson when their 12-round war in Las Vegas in 1991 was declared a draw to almost universal condemnation. During his career Fenech beat such fighters as Nelson, Daniel Zaragoza, Carlos Zarate, Greg Richardson, Samart Payakarun, Marcos Villasana, Victor Callejas, Steve McCrory, Jerome Coffee, Mario Martinez and Satoshi Shingaki. He made a comeback aged 44 last year after a 12-year absence to outpoint Nelson over 10 rounds in Melbourne and retired with a record of 29-3-1 (21 KOs). He was undefeated on the march to his three world titles.
Russian-born Tszyu (31-2, 25 KOs) held the IBF, WBC and WBA junior-welterweight titles between 1995 and 2005, scoring big wins over the likes of Zab Judah, Sharmba Mitchell, Ben Tackie, Julio Cesar Chavez, Jake Rodriguez, Roger Mayweather, Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Hugo Pineda, Jan Bergman, Calvin Grove, Rafael Ruelas, Diosbelys Hurtado, Oktay Urkal and Jesse James Leija. He has not fought since losing his IBF title to Ricky Hatton in 2005.
Rose (42-11) held the WBA and WBC bantamweight titles in 1968-69, beating raging favourite Fighting Harada in Tokyo aged just 19 and going back there to beat Olympic gold medallist Takao Sakurai and then defending his title against Mexican Chucho Castillo and Englishman Alan Rudkin. Weight difficulties and the heavy fists of Mexican Ruben Olivares ended his world title reign at the Inglewood Forum in California.
The list of the top 50 Australian fighters was devised in conjunction with Grantlee Kieza, Australia’s leading newspaper boxing writer of the last 30 years who was also a cornerman for some of Australia¹s leading boxers of the 80s and 90s.