Fight for Life: Kiwi Mea Motu crowned IBO world super bantamweight champion, as rugby win code war

Mea Motu reacts to winning the IBO world super bantamweight title.
Mea Motu reacts to winning the IBO world super bantamweight title. Photo credit: Photosport

Kiwi Mea Motu has been crowned IBO world super bantamweight champion, after a hard-fought victory over Canada's Tania Walters.

Motu is just the fifth New Zealander to win a world title, after triumphing by unanimous decision in the annual Fight for Life main event.

Her victory complete's a hat-trick of wins for coach Isaac Peach's team, with Jerome Pampellone and Andrei Mikhailovich also getting their hands raised.

Motu's power punching and activity saw her get the nod over her very tricky opponent, who showed exceptional poise to frustrate the Kiwi.

But her silky skills weren't enough to best Motu, who exploded at the beginning of each round to set the tone.

The undefeated Motu now moves to 16-0, and becomes the new queen of the IBO super bantamweight division.

Motu's decision win was the third of the action-packed night to go the distance, with the rest serving up devastating finishes.

Sam Tuitupou knocks out Roy Asotasi.
Sam Tuitupou knocks out Roy Asotasi. Photo credit: Photosport

In the event's opening bout, former All Blacks and Blues hitman Sam Tuitupou needed just 10 seconds to knockout NRL stalwart Roy Asotasi.

Asotasi failed to throw a single punch, before Tuitupou landed a flurry of shots over the top to send his opponent crashing to the canvas.

What followed was a dramatic comeback win by Kiwi-Russian Mikhailovich, who overcame a first-round knockdown to TKO Venezuelan Edisson Saltarin.

Mikhailovich was dropped just 20 seconds into the bout, before responding in the fifth with a cracking liver shot.

Santarin managed to get back to his feet, but the writing was on the wall, as Mikhailovich swarmed to drop him again and force the referee to wave the fight off.

The win sees him retain the IBF Pan Pacific and WBO Global middleweight titles.

In the event's second cross-code bout, former Warrior Sione Faumuina outlasted NZ Sevens veteran DJ Forbes to a unanimous decision win.

The crowd wouldn't have to wait long for a knockout though, with Pampellone needing just one round to TKO Mose Auimatagi Jr to retain the IBF Australasian and WBO Asia Pacific light heavyweight belts.

Auimatagi Jr looked to have recovered after a barrage of shots, but the referee decided the fight was over, with the defeated boxer sporting a nasty cut above his eye.

With the code war locked up, former All Blacks and Chiefs loose forward Liam Messam clinched the honours for rugby with victory over NRL legend Justin Hodges.

Messam was rewarded for his activity and claimed the win by unanimous decision, before announcing his run at the NZ heavyweight title was over.