Jeff Fenech has successful heart surgery in life-saving operation

Sam Goodwin
Sports Editor

Aussie boxing legend Jeff Fenech has undergone life-saving heart surgery in a Thailand hospital.

Fenech was rushed to hospital on Friday and admitted to the intensive care unit after his health deteriorated during a training camp.

A lung infection reportedly spread to his heart, leaving doctors no choice but to perform the risky operation.

On Tuesday night, surgeons replaced an infected heart valve and drained fluid from Fenech’s lungs in a five-hour operation.

Jeff Fenech talks to the media at Tszyu Boxing Academy on September 26. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

His wife and three children had flown to Thailand to be by his side.

Fenech will remain hospitalised for several weeks and won’t be able to attend the upcoming wedding of daughter Jess.

"I've got some pretty bad news, I've got an infected valve that's connected to my heart,” Fenech said in a video posted by Boxing Epicentre earlier this week.

"Which means over the next few days they'll try to get rid of the infection and then I'll have to have surgery."

Fenech was reportedly told by doctors he came close to dying.

Jeff Fenech’s boxing legacy

Fenech won world titles in the bantamweight, junior featherweight and featherweight divisions and represented Australia at the 1984 Olympics.

After retiring he trained American legend trained Mike Tyson, and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.

He retired in 1996 but 12 years later fought again in a much-publicised comeback grudge match against Ghana's Azumah Nelson.

Fenech was 44 years old at the time, five years younger than Nelson.