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

David Lord Columnist

By David Lord, David Lord is a Roar Expert

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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

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    The Crowd Says (5)

    • July 5th 2017 @ 11:27am
      BrainsTrust said | July 5th 2017 @ 11:27am | ! Report

      Fleetwood came into notice at the US Open a month earlier, Medvedev has been on the radar for a while. Fleetwood winning a tournament is much bigger than a first round upset by Medvedev.
      The big difference with Horn is that one single result means everything, beating one of the most famous fighters ever is invaluable, the dodgier it looked the better as well in some ways, especially for a rematch. Horn can make huge amounts of money now .

      • Columnist

        July 5th 2017 @ 2:57pm
        David Lord said | July 5th 2017 @ 2:57pm | ! Report

        You’ve missed the point of their huge improvement over 18 months.

        • July 7th 2017 @ 4:47pm
          John Erichsen said | July 7th 2017 @ 4:47pm | ! Report

          I do understand the point of his improvement in the past 18 months, but given that Fleetwood is now only 26, was he ever really on the list of golf’s journeymen? 18 months ago he was a 24 year old, former world number one amateur player and most golf followers, with any vision of golf outside the American tour, had him flagged as someone to watch. I see Tommy as more of an English Jason Day. Namely, a promising young player, with high expectations placed upon him, developing his craft and learning the lessons required to be successful on tour. Lessons which, as the last 18 months reveal, he has learned very well indeed. I believe one essential key to this success has been a return to his coach from junior days.
          Thanks for the article.

    • July 6th 2017 @ 2:28pm
      Michaelj said | July 6th 2017 @ 2:28pm | ! Report

      Horn should not give Manny a rematch. That may seem unfair to some, but Horn has the prerogative to defend his title in a way that suits him- and he should. It’s his turn to dictate terms now.

      • July 6th 2017 @ 2:34pm
        Michaelj said | July 6th 2017 @ 2:34pm | ! Report

        …If it had been a split decision, Horn would have had a moral obligation to offer a rematch- but it wasn’t.

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