Jeff Horn, Tommy Fleetwood, and Daniil Medvedev were once sporting journeymen. Not anymore

David Lord Columnist

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    In the space of 38 hours over the weekend, Jeff Horn, Tommy Fleetwood, and Daniil Medvedev changed their sporting status dramatically.

    Horn won a unanimous points decision over Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao to win the WBO world welterweight title, Fleetwood won the French Open golf tournament, and Medvedev made his Wimbledon debut, and on centre court no less, to send world number three Stan Wawrinka packing in the first round.

    So where did they spring from?

    Brisbane-born Horn (29) took up boxing because he was bullied at school, and six years later was the best performed Australian at the 2012 London Olympics, reaching the quarter-finals.

    During that time he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education and turned pro in 2013.

    But 18 months ago it would be fair to say around 97 per cent of the Australian sporting lovers had never heard of him, despite winning 13 of 14 pro bouts, with a draw the other result.

    Two bouts improved Horn’s status enormously when he stopped former world champion Randall Bailey in the seventh in April last year, and followed that significant win by knocking out tough South African Ali Funeka with big time American promoter Bob Arum ringside.

    It was Arum who set up the Pacquiao fight. No-one was interested in the northern hemisphere, but Brisbane was and celebrated with 51,000 filling Suncorp Stadium with massive support for the local.

    There’s a simple answer for the knockers who reckoned Pacquiao was robbed – just look in the record book.

    Will there be a rematch? Time will tell, but there’s no doubt who is the WBO world welterweight champion – Jeff Horn.

    Jeff Horn wins Boxing 2017

    (AAP Image/Dan Peled)

    Fleetwood (26) was born in Southport, England and as a kid used to sneak onto the nearby Royal Birkdale course where Fleetwood will play in The Open field after qualifying by capturing the French Open on Sunday.

    Eighteen months ago he was ranked 188 in the world. Today, he’s ranked 15, a massive leap.

    He puts it all down to his fiancee, who is both pregnant and his manager, and his caddy who is one of his best friends.

    Fleetwood will be in the mix in The Open at Royal Birkdale.

    Medvedev (21), was ranked 332 in the world 18 months ago, today he’s 49th and bound to rise dramatically with the shock win over Wawrinka.

    But the way he played was no shock – he was crisp, passionate, and dedicated, thrilling the capacity centre court crowd with consistently powerful strokeplay off both wings. He was very impressive in the 6-4 3-6 6-3 6-1 success.

    Serving for the match at 5-1, Medvedev was obviously very nervous, blowing two match points, but he regained his poise to win on the third match point.

    So a salute to all three for their stunning successes from journeyman status – long may it continue.

    In contrast, Australian tennis brat Bernard Tomic explained his first round Wimbledon loss to being bored.

    Bored by playing at Wimbledon?

    Tomic’s constantly rotten attitude is enough to make any genuine sports lover throw up.

    David Lord
    David Lord

    David Lord was deeply involved in two of the biggest sporting stories - World Series Cricket in 1977 and professional rugby in 1983. After managing Jeff Thomson and Viv Richards during WSC, in 1983 David signed 208 of the best rugby players from Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales and France to play an international pro circuit. The concept didn’t get off the ground, but it did force the IRB to get cracking and bring in the World Rugby Cup, now one of the world’s great sporting spectacles