Exiled former NRL star Tim Simona was given a rude awakening in his boxing debut with great Jeff Fenech raging over a late stoppage in Sydney.
Simona, booted from the NRL in 2016 for betting on matches, battled a gambling and cocaine addiction that even saw him steal from a club charity fundraiser to fund his addictions.
Attempting to show his athletic ability in his cruiserweight debut at The Star, Simona was well beaten by Aaron Cocco, with a doctor’s stoppage coming late in the third of four rounds.
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But Fenech was frustrated by how late the decision came, after Simona was belted for almost the entire fight and showed minimal defence for most of the third round.
“Great work by the doctor, that’s what it was. It’s a great job because the referee should’ve stopped it, and the corner should’ve stopped it. I’m not gonna pull any punches here – to me, that’s not a good look,” he said.
“Of course the fight should’ve been stopped. The referee’s standing there watching this guy get hit without coming back.
“In the first round it was Simona that opened up landing 10 or 12 punches … it looked like Cocco was gonna do what Simona did.
“I think he (Simona) learned it’s a little bit harder than playing football. But he put up a great show, the first round I thought this might be a huge win for him, but the doctor’s done the right thing and I take my hat off to him.”