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Horn trainer’s explosive 2750-word statement

Glenn Rushton had some things to get off his chest. 2752 words worth.Strongly criticised for the way he handled Jeff Horn during his eight-round TKO defeat against Tim Tszyu in Townsville last month, Rushton has provided a lengthy explanation for everything that happened — and launched some friendly fire.Rushton continues to insist Horn wasn’t badly…

Glenn Rushton had some things to get off his chest. 2752 words worth.

Strongly criticised for the way he handled Jeff Horn during his eight-round TKO defeat against Tim Tszyu in Townsville last month, Rushton has provided a lengthy explanation for everything that happened — and launched some friendly fire.

Rushton continues to insist Horn wasn’t badly hurt in the fight and criticised referee Phil Austin for counting a knockdown against his man in the third round he says was a push.

But the heaviest criticism was saved for a member of his own team.

In a sign the Horn camp is fraying and may never be the same — if the Queenslander opts to continue his career — Rushton blamed cornerman and fellow fighter Adam Copland for “ending Jeff’s career” by waving the towel and ending the fight.

Rushton accused Copland, who fought on the undercard, of being incapable of making a clear decision because he’d been “sent to the canvas” earlier in the night.

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“The footage appears to confirm that Adam, in particular, was largely responsible for ending the fight and quite possibly, Jeff’s career,” Rushton wrote.

“This was a shame, as Adam had been sent to the canvas during his fight earlier in the night, went to hospital the following morning and shouldn’t have even been on the apron in the first place. The fact that he was on the apron tells me that he probably wasn’t thinking clearly, as he knows the rules.”

Rushton also claimed Copland attempted to end Horn’s rematch against Michael Zerafa in 2019 before the Hornet launched an incredible comeback.

Copland hit back on Instagram, describing Rushton’s statement as a “post made by a man digging his own grave as a boxing trainer and trying to drag everyone down with him”.

“For Glenn to write this about me, with not one phone call to me after the fight asking why I stopped it, just shows what type of person he is,” Copland wrote.

“To say I was concussed and confused is nothing but defamatory and false. Of course I knew what was going on and so did the rest of Australia.

“I could sit here and write 2700 words about him like he did about everyone else in his post but I think he says enough for everyone to understand who he is as a person.

“And yes, I called him and told him all my problems about his post before I decided to post this, as that in my eyes, is the right thing to do. And of course there was no acceptance of any wrong doing as usual.

“I love Jeff Horn and his whole family. I hope the public does not associate Jeff Horn with Glenn Rushton’s garbage. As no one deserves that.”

In his lengthy post on the Stretton Boxing Club Facebook page, Rushton also revealed Horn’s health issues in the lead-up, said his fighter’s “flame has gone” and also criticised cutman Stephen Edwards for helping create confusion in the corner.

GLENN RUSHTON’S FULL STATEMENT

Thanks again to all of our supporters out there who got behind Jeff for his fight against Tim Tszyu. Of course we’re all disappointed, including Jeff. This was certainly not the same Jeff Horn who walked into the ring on that magical day just over three years ago to defeat Manny Pacquiao.

Jeff is one of those people that you can’t help but like and we’ve shared an incredible journey together. From the time this bullied schoolkid walked into my gym to learn self-defence when he had just turned 18, I have grown to admire him for his courage and determination.

Regardless of what Jeff does in the future, I’ll always be there for him. And whether he chooses to retire or continue fighting, I’m comfortable either way. Only Jeff can make that decision and there’s no hurry.

So what went wrong in the fight against Tim Tszyu?

On the day of the fight, Chris Muckert, Jeff’s new strength and conditioning coach and former NRL player, assured me that Jeff was ready to deliver the performance of his career.

He said he had slept perfectly, his recovery was phenomenal and his resting heart rate was purring along at just 39 beats a minute. Leading into the fight, Jeff had done Dexa scans, skin folds and he was being constantly monitored by Chris to ensure his recovery, diet, sleep, etc. were all perfect.

I do know that just over a week out from the fight Jeff called me to say he had vertigo. This, on top of the raspy voice, had me concerned, so I suggested he visit the ENT (ear, nose and throat) specialist who did the surgery on Jeff’s throat some years ago.

The ENT specialist gave him the all clear to fight and slowly the vertigo subsided, however, the throat issue remained, as everyone knows who heard him speak leading into the fight.

On the night of the fight, I was concerned during the warm-up. Jeff wasn’t himself. He’s normally like a junk yard dog ready to tear someone apart, however, his demeanour was subdued and the usual pop wasn’t in his punches.

From the first round, Jeff was off. Tim did exactly what I thought he’d do but Jeff just wasn’t following the strategy, which is odd for Jeff. When Tim went back towards the ropes on two occasions in the first round, rather than Jeff drive him onto the ropes and unload on him, as planned and as he did with Pacquiao, he just let him off the hook.

The hunger didn’t appear to be there to stay on top of Tim. The intensity and volume of punches Jeff was supposed to be throwing on the inside weren’t happening. We’ve all grown to love Jeff’s tenacity, but after a few rounds it appeared as though the heart had been ripped out of Jeff Horn. The V8 engine that drives Jeff simply wasn’t there. Was it psychological – was it biological?

When he came back to the corner after each round, I was looking at him very closely. I could see he wasn’t hurt nor exhausted. He just appeared lethargic, frustrated, disinterested. Cardio wise, he was actually recovering okay between rounds but he was simply too slow in, not intense enough in range and appeared more intent on just getting through the rounds, as opposed to winning them.

Most of the rounds were very scrappy, with a lot of clinching, pushing and shoving and not a lot of clean punches being landed by either side – but Jeff just wasn’t dominating, as he normally does.

Again, this was extremely odd behaviour for Jeff, as he is one of the most competitive people I’ve ever known, which has been one of his strongest attributes – he just has to win, whether it’s boxing, poker, Connect 4, or any other game.

While Tim was clearly winning the fight, and we wish him and his team every success for the future, Jeff was not getting beaten up as some people have indicated. I have watched the fight a couple of times since without the audio on to verify this.

The knockdown in round 3 was a mistake, as it is clear from the replay that Jeff was simply pushed over by Tim, which is what I thought on the night. Unfortunately, the referee was behind Tim at the time and couldn’t see this.

The only other knockdown was when Jeff took a very soft knee in round six before immediately springing to his feet. Jeff was never physically knocked to the canvas, nor were there any long combinations where Jeff was getting repeatedly hit.

I can assure you that Jeff took a lot less punishment in this fight than in some of his previous fights. He looked fine after the fight, had no headache, slept well and the day after the fight, he was his normal self, laughing and joking. He did not appear at all exhausted after the fight, in the dressing room afterwards, or at the press conference.

If no medical reason emerges for his performance, I can only say that the flame has gone – at least for now. This is not unusual and many athletes just wake up one day and realise they don’t want to do it anymore.

More importantly, they start looking for an easier way and don’t want to do what has to be done to win at the highest level. As Muhammad Ali once famously said, “The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses — behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.”

What drives people is different for everyone. I believe Jeff will take some time to ponder his future, reflect on who he is, how he wants to be remembered, why he is boxing, if he still enjoys it, and if he has more goals he wants to achieve in boxing, etc. At 32, he’s not old.

As an example, George Foreman started his pro career when he was 20, became world champion, retired at 28 years of age after 47 fights, came back ten years later at age 38, had another 34 fights and became world champion again, before finally retiring when he was 48. Anything is possible if the hunger is there.

With regards to the criticism being levelled at me around the stoppage, I’d like to say this. You don’t stop a fight just because a boxer is losing – you stop a fight if a boxer is injured and can’t continue or is being badly hurt by his opponent – neither of these were the case in Jeff’s fight.

If you’re losing a fight but you’re unhurt, you continue searching for a way to win, knowing it only takes one punch to turn a fight around. There is always a way – it’s just a matter of finding it. In an effort to get Jeff to rediscover the Jeff Horn who beat Pacquiao, I told Jeff between rounds 6 and 7 that if he didn’t show me something, I’d stop the fight.

This seemed to motivate him against Pacquiao (when the ref warned him) – and he did lift in round seven after I’d said this. I also knew from his recovery between rounds that he wasn’t as tired as he appeared (his breathing was quite steady) and he certainly wasn’t badly hurt, so he was okay to continue – he just wasn’t doing enough to win – and yet he knows how to win.

Ben Horn and I were on the same page and discussed this during round eight. In the corner after round eight, I knew Jeff’s career was on the line and I wanted Jeff to go out on his terms, so I did something I’ve never done before – I asked him if he wanted to continue.

This question was as much to quieten our corner, as I was becoming increasingly concerned about the comments I was hearing in the corner, as I was in Zerafa 2. I was hoping Jeff would simply nod, so I could then focus on what I wanted to say to him.

Instead he just shrugged his shoulders, as if to say, I don’t really care either way. I knew he was just annoyed with himself that he was losing the fight. Again, there was no physical reason why he couldn’t continue and had this been any other fighter he would have been expected to continue – but everyone seems intent on overly protecting Jeff.

We all know it only takes one punch to turn a fight around – or even win a fight, as we recently saw when Povetkin threw one left uppercut to KO Dillian Whyte, even though Povetkin had suffered two knockdowns in the previous round and looked set to be KO’d himself. It’s amazing how much energy you suddenly get from landing just one really good punch.

We also saw Tyson Fury climb off the canvas after appearing unconscious and for those who can remember back to 1974, when Muhammad Ali lay on the ropes for seven rounds taking a beating, only to KO George Foreman in the eighth round in the famous rope-a-dope fight.

What makes boxing such an exciting sport is that anything can and does happen on a regular basis.

To all those who say it was obvious Jeff couldn’t win, I simply say that’s nonsense. I could show you a hundred fights where it was obvious a boxer would lose – but won. These same people thought it was obvious Jeff was about to be KO’d by Pacquiao in round 10 and again in round 9 in Zerafa 2.

Both times Jeff did the impossible and snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. These two wins have shown how much courage Jeff Horn has. He also has natural endurance. Further, as I am also Jeff’s manager, I knew there was no rematch clause in the contract, so there would be no second chance for Jeff to redeem himself.

We were all in. Another reason I asked him if he would like to do one more minute in round nine is because all through the prep we had made round nine Jeff’s best round. He was used to going flat out in round nine and I had hoped that if he knew he only had to fight for another minute, he could muster the hunger to give it everything he had and hopefully land the right hand from hell that he did in his last fight.

If Jeff had walked out for round 9 thinking that if he didn’t land a huge punch within the first minute, I’d throw the towel in – who knows what would have happened. And we’ll never know. It may have saved his career, it may not have – who knows – but I believed he deserved one last chance.

It is not an easy decision, as when a fighter wins, the fighter’s great – when a fighter loses, the trainer’s at fault. This rule applies in all sports, as I’m sure Anthony Seibold would agree. But if you can’t stand the heat, you should stay out of the kitchen and all trainers are aware of how they’ll be criticised if their fighter/team loses.

Of course, had I taken the easy way out and thrown the towel in against Pacquiao, no one would have criticised me, but Jeff’s life would have been much different to what it is now.

It’s not easy to hold the faith under these trying conditions but I believe so strongly in Jeff, and with his career evaporating, I had to give him one last chance to snatch victory from defeat. I’m also aware that many fighters become overconfident when they’re close to victory and as a result, have been KO’d.

We saw this in Jeff’s last fight when an overconfident Michael Zerafa snatched defeat from victory. And Tim Tszyu is only a young fighter with limited experience in big fights – maybe, just maybe, he’d get careless and make a mistake. These are all of the points I considered.

Let’s face it, this fight against Tim Tszyu had not been a war like the fight with Pacquiao, or even the fights with Terrence Crawford or Michael Zerafa. It was a messy fight with a lot of clinching and few clean punches landed.

The primary concern of a referee is to prevent unnecessary damage to the boxer’s health – and he saw no reason to stop the fight until our corner persuaded him. It was very difficult to communicate with Jeff after round eight as I had four other heads in the ring all trying to have their say, whereas, in Tim Tszyu’s corner, there was just a very peaceful team with one trainer and a second, which reminded me of when it was just Ben Horn and myself in the corner.

I realise that everyone in our corner had Jeff’s best interests at heart and this is not a personal attack on them as they’ve been great friends and excellent cornermen over the years – but a corner is not a committee.

There has to be a chain of command and I had said to Jeff after Zerafa 1, that the only person I would discuss a stoppage with in future was his brother, Ben Horn, and yet for Zerafa 2, I still had Adam Copland desperately wanting to throw the towel in, while I was trying to concentrate on every detail that was unfolding before me so as to make the best possible decision.

Adam apologised to me after the Zerafa 2 fight and admitted that at the time, he thought Jeff was done. I felt the corner carried the baggage of the previous two fights into this one and were too quick to weaken. Again, that is my humble opinion and of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.

Adam should never have been on the apron in the first place, as only two seconds are allowed on the apron, which in our corner, was Stephen and Ben, as always. Both Adam and Stephen were adamant they wanted the fight to stop. Stephen was heard saying a couple of times, “I don’t want to”, meaning he didn’t want Jeff to continue, and Adam is telling Ben “no” when Ben was supporting me about allowing Jeff to continue for another minute to see what he could do.

Adam can also be seen tapping the referee on the shoulder and waving with his right hand, at which point the referee looks at Adam and then turns around and waves the fight off. The footage appears to confirm that Adam, in particular, was largely responsible for ending the fight and quite possibly, Jeff’s career.

This was a shame, as Adam had been sent to the canvas during his fight earlier in the night, went to hospital the following morning and shouldn’t have even been on the apron in the first place.

The fact that he was on the apron tells me that he probably wasn’t thinking clearly, as he knows the rules. I have no qualms with the referee Phil Austin, as I believe he thought the corner wanted the fight stopped. Do I believe he would have stopped the fight had our corner acted differently – no.

Had my corner simply let me and me alone speak (as they usually do), I would have said to Jeff, “Jeff, you’ve got one minute to save your career. If you’re not clearly winning the next round within a minute, I’m going to throw the towel in. Jeff, there’s still time. Come on, let’s give it everything you’ve got for one minute.”

And rest assured, if he wasn’t winning after 30 seconds, I’d have thrown the towel in. Jeff deserved every chance to go out a winner – the fact he wasn’t given that one last opportunity breaks my heart. I was the person who had the most experience, as well as the most information about Jeff to make the call but unfortunately, I wasn’t allowed that opportunity – and I can assure you, it still hurts.

Again, I want to finish by saying thank you to Jeff and everyone in the team. Yes, mistakes were made, both during the camp and on the night, but I realise that everyone in the team did what they thought was best for Jeff. Am I personally taking this loss hard – yes, because I deeply care about Jeff and I never wanted it to end like this.

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