THERE are few characters in Australian boxing that are more divisive than Glenn Rushton.
The Stretton-based mentor, best known for guiding Jeff Horn and Dennis Hogan at world level, has stuck by his decision to not withdraw the former WBO welterweight titleholder in last month’s domestic blockbuster against Tim Tszyu.
Speaking with Jeff Fenech, Ben Damon and Paul Fitzgerald, Rushton explains his thought process in forensic detail.
“There was no real reason to stop that fight,” he told the Standing Eight podcast.
“At the end of round eight, I’d already said to Jeff, you’ve got to show us something.
“Jeff’s problem in that fight was not that he was really exhausted, even though he hadn’t done enough intense work in the camp to make him fight fit. He was lethargic, he was disinterested. He wasn’t breathing heavy, he wasn’t exhausted.
“If I thought Jeff was exhausted, where Jeff was being hurt too much, I would’ve stopped the fight. No doubt.
“If Jeff was getting hit, hit, hit, hit, in any round, the towel would’ve gone in. That never happened.”
In the weeks leading up the unified regional title clash, Horn (20-3-1, 13 KOs) revealed his delight with former rugby league utility Chris Muckert, who added an element of science to his fiercely loyal team, having replaced long-time confidant Dundee Kim.
Although in tremendous physical condition, Rushton concedes that the 32-year-old wasn’t conditioned to the adversity that a rigorous title fight presents, citing his intuitive relationship with the former schoolteacher.
“No one knows Jeff Horn better than I do,” he explained.
“Remember I took Jeff Horn when he was 18 years of age, when he came into my gym as a bullied school kid… he wasn’t a natural athlete. I moulded Jeff. I shared a dream with him, a vision, and he bought into that.
“I wasn’t confident because I know he hadn’t done what we normally do. I knew his body wasn’t strong as it normally is. He’s never been hurt by body shots before. But on that night, he felt them.”
Like all successful pairings, there is an element of camaraderie that is developed from years of tutelage, mutual understanding, and of course, tenure.
In spite of Horn’s legacy as an Australian boxing stalwart, which is already set in stone, Rushton has questioned the choice to tamper with their winning formula.
“I’ll always think the world of Jeff… what he’s done has been amazing,” he said.
“Not only where he’s come from with what he’s achieved… what he’s done is amazing, right. We’ve got an unique special bond… you’ll never break that bond. I think the absolute world of Jeff Horn.
“People don’t understand how much I think of Jeff. (But) before Pacquiao… I did all the study, I did all the analysis. I designed the program. It wouldn’t matter who came into the camp. One ship, one captain.
“I understand Chris (Muckert), I know he might’ve been a good footballer. He played 50 NRL games, I know he’s got a degree in exercise science, but he doesn’t know anything about boxing, and that’s the problem.”
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