Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech has been awarded his fourth world title belt, more than 30 years after a controversial draw with Azumah Nelson.
Fenech challenged Nelson for the super featherweight belt in 1991, with the fight controversially judged a draw
Fenech said he was “never the same fighter” after that and lost a rematch a year later
A panel of World Boxing Council judges reassessed the fight and awarded a unanimous decision to Fenech
Having already won bantamweight, super bantamweight and featherweight belts, and being undefeated at the time, Fenech got in the ring with then-super featherweight champion Nelson in Las Vegas in June 1991.
After 12 rounds, judges scored the fight a draw, allowing Nelson to keep his belt, although it was widely seen as a poor decision as many believed Fenech had dominated.
Those people’s opinions have now been recognized as fact, with the World Boxing Council (WBC) retroactively awarding the super featherweight belt to Fenech.
The WBC said a panel of judges reassessed the fight and it was deemed a unanimous decision for the man dubbed “The Marrickville Mauler”.
“That makes a grand total of four WBC belts for him,” the WBC said.
It puts Fenech in rarefied air as a four-division champion, but perhaps does little to change the impact of the fight on the rest of his career.
“I can’t put my finger on it and tell you exactly what it did to me, but I can tell you I was never the same fighter,” he said in 2015.
“After the [first Nelson] fight I came back home, obviously heartbroken and disappointed. I was never the same.
“I was never the same fighter and we never really saw [again] the guy who fought Azumah Nelson in Vegas.”
The pair had a rematch at Princes Park in Melbourne a year later, with Fenech brutally knocked out in the eighth round in front of 40,000 fans.
In 2008, Fenech and Nelson, aged 43 and 49 at the time, squared up one more time, with Fenech winning a majority decision.