The boxing world has been left incensed after a controversial end to the blockbuster all-Aussie showdown between Tim Tszyu and Jeff Horn.
Tszyu showed all his class in a dominant win over Horn, but it was the actions of the former world champion's trainer Glenn Rushton that dominated debate after the fight.
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Horn was comprehensively outclassed during Wednesday night's super-welterweight bout in Townsville, with boxing legend Jeff Fenech at one stage tipping Horn not to get through the fourth round, such was Tszyu's dominance in the opening rounds.
However, the former school teacher showed tremendous heart and courage to withstand the onslaught from Tszyu, getting through five more rounds before his corner finally threw in the towel before the start of the ninth round.
By that stage Horn was completely out on his feet, stung countless times by Tszyu's brutal body shots and strikes to the head.
Horn had already been knocked down in the third and sixth rounds and it was clear to most viewers that he was done, yet his trainer Rushton could be heard on the coverage seemingly trying to convince the fighter to give them one more minute in the ninth round in search of a miracle knockout punch.
Trainer: “Have you got a punch left in you or not?”— ESPN Ringside (@ESPNRingside) August 26, 2020
The convo between Jeff Horn and his corner was raw and honest before they threw in the towel. pic.twitter.com/70Ykg29n80
Horn’s trainer comes under fire
After revealing that he didn't have punch left in him, Horn's team eventually threw in the towel but the conduct of Rushton - who many argued was endangering the health of his fighter - was roundly condemned.
“To hear that corner argue about (stopping), when Jeff Horn couldn’t even answer if he wanted to fight, to tell him to go back out is disgraceful," Fenech said in commentary.
Main Event boxing expert Paul Kent was particularly scathing of Rushton's role in the incident, labelling it "embarrassing" and amateurish.
“For Glenn Rushton, who is Jeff Horn’s trainer, to be sitting there at the end of the eighth round asking if he wants to fight again, whether he has one more punch in him, whether he has one more minute in him, was absolutely embarrassing to be honest,” Kent said.
“It showed the amateurism that’s been in Jeff Horn’s corner for much of his career.
“The greatness of Jeff Horn is he’s been able to overcome that.
Viewers were equally outraged on social media.
The only thing that was a bigger massacre than Horn on the receiving end of Tszyu tonight is the reputation of Geoff Rushton.— Pottsy (@Pottsy68424092) August 26, 2020
Unbelievably dangerous advice. Should be ashamed.#HornTszyu
Glenn Rushton is a complete disgrace and all my brothers and mates who watched tonight are in disbelief at how much of a disgrace he was tonight. If only that amatuer wasn't in @jeffhornboxer corner. Surely its the fighters safety first. @BradleyHutton @brendonhone @Tyson_Fury— Daisy Tepa (@daisy_tepa) August 26, 2020
Glen Rushton is a disgrace to boxing. The quicker he heads exit left the better— Paul Blake (@PaulBlakeCW) August 26, 2020
What an incredible victory from Tim Tszyu. He should get so many plaudits for that victory.— Lachlan McKirdy (@LMcKirdy7) August 26, 2020
But at the same time, Rushton is past it as a trainer. Asking Horn if he wants to fight is not his role. He needs to know when to throw in the towel.
It’s the corners job to protect the fighter from themselves. It’s not up to the fighter it’s up to the corner and Rushton should’ve stopped it much much earlier, he’s a disgrace.— William Kaye (@willkaye7) August 26, 2020
Tszyu's WBO Global and Australian IBF super welterweight title retention sets him on track for a potential world title fight, while a series of bouts in Russia are also on the cards.
The dominant super-welterweight win extend Tszyu's career unbeaten streak to 16, the latest coming on the biggest stage yet at a rowdy Queensland Country Bank Stadium.
The 25-year-old favourite answered plenty of pre-fight questions, defying Horn's awkward, physical style with precision just as his father Kostya had in the same Queensland city 23 years ago.
Horn, 32, and with three losses from his last five fights, faces a tough decision about whether or not to box on.
An emotional Horn said it was time to go home and hug his two daughters, admitting after the fight that he may not "have the hunger" to keep boxing.