Boxing: Mea Motu's trainer Isaac Peach withdraws threat to boycott world title fight over referee dispute

  • 25/08/2023

Kiwi boxer Mea Motu's world title fight in Auckland on Saturday will go ahead as planned, after trainer Isaac Peach agreed to put his protests with referee Ignatius Missilaidus aside.

The bout was thrown into turmoil on Thursday, when Peach threatened to withdraw Motu from the contest in protest of some questionable scoring by Missilaidus towards one of his fighters at an event in Sydney on Wednesday night.

The Australian was the only judge to score Peach Boxing fighter Kiki Toa Leutele's bout in favour of opponent Toese Vousiutu, prompting Peach to label him a "cheat."

Peach demanded Missilaidus be removed from the card and Motu agreed to pull out of her clash with Malawi's Ellen Simwaka if he remained assigned to her fight.

At Friday's weigh-in, Peach accepted finding a replacement at such short notice wasn't realistic and he wasn't willing to deny the fighters their payday should the fight have been canned.

"The option is to have him as the ref or not to fight," said Peach. 

"These guys need to get paid, if I could afford to pay them I'd pull the fight."

Incidentally, Missilaidus was one of the judges when Motu out-pointed Tani Walters back in April to capture the IBO super bantamweight title.

A "disappointed" Peach said he'd had a chat with Missilaidus and was confident he'd made his point clear both to the referee and the public.

"He knows exactly how I feel," said Peach. "They all know how I feel - the public know, Australia know.

"So I can't see anything going wrong on the night."

The card at Eventfinda Stadium also features Kiwi IBF world heavyweight champion Lani Daniels, who'll defend her crown against unbeaten South African Razel Mohammed in the co-main event.