PAC­QUIAO CON­QUEROR HORN WINS TOP AUS­TRALIAN AWARD

Manila Times - - SPORTS - SYD­NEY: Jeff Horn ( left) of Aus­tralia and Manny Pac­quiao of the Philip­pines dur­ing their World Boxing Or­ga­ni­za­tion bout in Bris­bane. AFP

Boxer Jeff Horn’s stun­ning up­set of Filipino great Manny Pac­quiao has earned him one of Aus­tralia’s top sport­ing hon­ors as the most in­spi­ra­tional ath­lete of the year.

The un­her­alded 29- year- old stunned the boxing world with a unan­i­mous 12- round de­ci­sion over Pac­quiao in Bris­bane on July 2 in a hotly con­tested re­sult that rat­tled the Philip­pines.

In recog­ni­tion, he walked away with ‘ The Don’ award at the an­nual Sport Aus­tralia Hall Of Fame din­ner in Mel­bourne on Thurs­day evening.

Named after crick­eter Don­ald Brad­man, prior win­ners of the prize in­clude swim­mer Ian Thorpe, run­ner Cathy Free­man, cy­clist Cadel Evans, hur­dler Sally Pear­son, golfer Ja­son Day and last year’s re­cip­i­ent jockey Michelle Payne.

“It is mas­sive,” Horn said, call­ing it a ca­reer high­light.

“I can re­mem­ber grow­ing up be­ing in­spired by pre­vi­ous win­ners such as Cathy Free­man and Ian Thorpe.

“To know I am po­ten­tially in­spir­ing the fu­ture gen­er­a­tion of ath­letes like these guys have done for me is an in­cred­i­ble feel­ing.”

Horn said he still some­times found it hard to be­lieve he took down one of the world’s great­est ever fight­ers, who has won world ti­tles in an un­prece­dented eight weight di­vi­sions.

“Many days I have thought to my­self, did that re­ally hap­pen? It’s been very hec­tic since the win but recog­ni­tion and awards like this cer­tainly help,” he said.

Pac­quiao pulled out of a planned re­match in Aus­tralia later his year, with Horn close to fi­nal­is­ing an­other op­po­nent to de­fend his World Boxing Or­ga­ni­za­tion wel­ter­weight ti­tle.

English­man Gary Cor­co­ran is shap­ing up as the most likely chal­lenger, with the fight ex­pected to be in Bris­bane in De­cem­ber, lo­cal re­ports have said.

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