Boxing: Mea Motu fuelled by injustice of losing IBF world No.1 ranking in preparation to defend super bantamweight title

If Mea Motu needed any extra motivation to defend her IBO super bantamweight title on Saturday night, proving she belongs as the world's top contender by the IBF is fuelling the Kiwi champion's fire.  

Last week, 33-year-old Motu was overtaken as the IBF's No.1 ranked contender, as England's Ramla Ali was instilled as the organisation's best fighter and pushing the Kiwi down to second spot.   

That ranking change came after Ali's unanimous decision victory against Julissa Guzman, taking her record to nine wins and one loss from her 10 fights.

Mea Motu against Ellen Simwaka.
Mea Motu against Ellen Simwaka. Photo credit: Photosport

However, Motu by far boasts a superior record, with 17 consecutive wins as a professional, yet to be beaten.  

On Saturday, Motu puts that perfect record on the line, up against Chandi Mehra in Whangārei.

But even with her focus solely on defending the IBO title she won earlier this year, Motu can't help but let the frustration of her IBF ranking spur her on in the hunt for an 18th career win.

"That's fuelled me," Motu told Newshub. "That's made me angry, it's pissed me off to be honest.

"It's kind of a disgrace. I feel disrespected and it's really rude. How did I get dropped?

"I've won all my fights, [I'm] undefeated. Then someone that got knocked out, fights again and then wins – just – and then goes above me?

"I don't understand. It's really fuelled me."  

Motu's fight comes as part of a stacked card, that will see her and compatriot Lani Daniels both defend their world titles in their hometown of Whangārei.

And with her friends and family in attendance at McKay Stadium, Motu wants to put on a show to defend her title once again.

"I'm hungry for this fight," she added. "This is definitely a special moment for me.

"All my whānau is coming to support me. You're going to see my mana.

"That's 100 percent."

Victory on Saturday would cap off a perfect year for Motu, with unanimous wins over Tania Walters giving her the IBO title, before defending it against Ellen Simwaka in August.  

In fact, as an example of Motu's class, that win over Simwaka came with a dislocated shoulder.