Sport | Boxing

Mea Motu takes IBO super bantamweight world title

Mea Motu has secured her place at the top of world boxing.

Headlining the Fight For Life card in Auckland on Thursday night, Motu proved too good for Canadian counterpart Tania Walters, claiming the IBO super bantamweight world title by unanimous decision after 10 rounds.

Motu established herself as the aggressor early in the fight, throwing combinations with power and staying active to bank rounds early.

Walters weathered the initial storm from Motu and began to work her way into the bout as things went on, however Motu continued to edge rounds through her volume as she mixed her targets between head and body well.

While Motu looked like she was starting to tire as the fight crossed the halfway mark, some words of encouragement from coach Isaac Peach seemed to do the job.

Needing to finish the fight late, Walters came on strong in the ninth round and looked to have Motu hurt with a good left hook late in the round, but Motu came back strong to close out the win, with the judges scoring the bout 98-92, 96-94 and 99-91.

It caps off a remarkable journey in the sport for Motu, and one she has been open about leading up to the bout.

“It means everything. I wanted to give up on life. I had the worst mental health ever back then and boxing saved me; Peach Boxing saved my life and brought me back. Thank you,” Motu told Sky Sport after the fight.

It was the first time in Fight For Life history that women had headlined the card, and it capped off a night to please the fans.

In the other professional bouts, Motu’s Peach Boxing teammates Andrei Mikhailovich and Jerome Pampellone both claimed emphatic TKO wins to improve their respective undefeated records.

IBF world No. 5 middleweight Mikhailovich had some early trouble as he was dropped in the opening moments of the first round, but adjusted well against his Venezuelan opponent Edisson Saltarin to finish the fight in the fifth round.

Pampellone, ranked No. 9 in the world by the IBF, didn’t need as long to hand Mose Auimatagi Jr his third professional loss, landing a strong left hook in the first round and pouncing on his opportunity to finish the fight.

In the corporate bouts, Sam Tuitupou kicked things off with the most vicious finish of the night, catching Roy Asotasi with a few clean shots in the opening exchanges to knock Asotasi out.

In a back-and-forth fight, Sione Faumuina edged out DJ Forbes by unanimous decision after a strong third round, while Liam Messam claimed a unanimous decision win over Justin Hodges.