‘The toughest fight of my life’: Jeff Fenech reveals how his daughter’s surprise ‘wedding’ by his hospital bed spurred him to walk her down the aisle for real just 10 days after open-heart surgery
- Boxing legend Jeff Fenech, 55, underwent life-saving surgery in Thailand
- He was rushed to intensive care in Bangkok after he began coughing up blood
- Fenech was set to miss his eldest daughter Jessica’s wedding as he is recovering
- Last week he was able to watch Jessica and her fiance tie the knot at his bedside
- On Saturday he flew into Sydney and surprised her to walk her down the aisle
Boxing legend Jeff Fenech has revealed how his daughter’s surprise wedding by his hospital bed motivated him to walk her down the aisle just 10 days after open-heart surgery.
The former triple world champion, 55, was rushed to intensive care in Bangkok on October 4 after he began coughing up blood at a training camp.
He was set to miss his eldest daughter Jessica’s wedding as he recovered from the five-hour operation on an infected heart valve which almost killed him.
Jess and her groom Caermello surprised Fenech with an intimate wedding ceremony by his bedside in intensive care last week.
On Monday, the father-of-three revealed to A Current Affair that watching his daughter get married only further spurred him on to make it to her lavish Sydney wedding over the weekend.
Jeff Fenech’s eldest daughter Jess fought back tears as she embraced her father, before he walked her down the aisle in front of 300 guests in Sydney on Saturday
Fenech managed to walk his eldest daughter down the aisle (pictured) just 10 days after having open heart surgery
‘For them to think of me was pretty special,’ he said.
‘I was really proud that they did that for me… it made me want to fight even harder to get back to Australia for them.
‘Watching both of them leave I thought to myself “wow”. I kind of thought I was letting them down and I thought I had to do my best to get there.’
Despite watching on as his daughter say ‘I do’ last week, Fenech’s wife Suzee said the champion boxer wasn’t going to miss walking her down the aisle.
‘Jessica was heartbroken and devastated,’ she said.
‘Her world had fallen apart so it was really hard when they walked into the room and saw him the way he was before the operation.’
On Monday, the father-of-three revealed to A Current Affair that watching his daughter get married motivated him to make it to her Sydney wedding over the weekend. Pictured with wife of 23 years Suzee
Fenech defied the odds and ignored his doctors’ advice when he jumped on a red eye flight back to Sydney on Saturday.
After touching down, Fenech was put straight onto a stretcher and taken to the hospital for a medical assessment, just five hours before Jess’ wedding.
With just an hour to spare, Fenech was discharged from hospital and made it to St Mary’s Cathedral to surprise Jess.
‘Of course your dad’s going to walk you down the aisle,’ a tearful Fenech said as he surprised Jess outside the church.
Jess fought back tears as she embraced her father, before he walked her down the aisle in front of 300 guests.
After the nuptials, Fenech said it was the best day of his life.
‘It was an amazing feeling when I held her hand. I looked at her and I could see that she was trying so hard not to cry,’ he said.
‘She didn’t want to speak because she knows if she would have spoken all her beautiful makeup would have been all over her dress… I’m very proud of her.
‘It made me feel very, very special.’
Fenech (left) was initially devastated he was unable to walk his daughter Jess (centre) down the isle (right: wife Suzee)
The father-of-three is now back in hospital in Sydney, where he is receiving two doses of antibiotics a day.
‘I was ready for the fight, and it’s not over yet, let’s just hope I keep getting better and I win this fight as well,’ he said.
Fenech began boxing in 1984, the same year he represented Australia at the Olympics in Los Angeles.
He cemented his status as a professional boxer and was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.
His record stood at 29 wins, three losses and a draw from 33 bouts when he retired in 1996.
Kayla Fenech has been at her dad Jeff’s hospital bedside in Thailand since Tuesday