Boxing

Ref: Why I Stopped The Naliva – Kwadjo Title Fight

“I did not want him to take any more shots because it is all about the safety of the boxer at the end of the day. It took a lot of effort to hold him up after he went down because he was falling. Based on that I deemed that he had enough so I waved it off.”
28 Oct 2019 14:16
Ref: Why I Stopped The Naliva – Kwadjo Title Fight
Referee Justine Kennedy (middle) moves in as Joseph Kwadjo struggles to get up from a fierce Savenaca Naliva left hand during their Fiji light-heavyweight title fight at Prince Charles Park, Nadi on October 26, 2019. Naliva won by knockout in the 12th round to claim the title in the South Pacific Boxing Promotions-organised event. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Police had to keep things under control after light heavyweight boxer Joseph Kwadjo disputed the decision by Australian referee Justin Kennedy to stop the fight in the 12th round on Saturday night.

Kwadjo was decked several times by Savenaca Naliva during their Fiji light heavyweight title fight at Prince Charles Park, Nadi, eventually falling in the final round.

With 13 seconds left at the end of the final round, Naliva landed a hard left that sent Kwadjo to the canvas, forcing referee Kennedy to step in and award the fight to Naliva.

Kennedy, who is an International Boxing Organisation (IBO) referee, said it was a brutal fight but it was of international standard.

“The reason I stopped the fight is because Joseph (Kwadjo) had taken too many shots,” he said.

“I did not want him to take any more shots because it is all about the safety of the boxer at the end of the day. It took a lot of effort to hold him up after he went down because he was falling. Based on that I deemed that he had enough so I waved it off.”

Kennedy said it seemed that Kwadjo had been concussed and was not thinking straight.

“He (Kwadjo) has never been stopped so it was always at the back of his mind. I think pride made him complain at the end. Anyone who watches that fight again will see that he was gone.”

Kwadjo and his trainers refused to comment when approached at their dressing room.

Joseph Kwadjo confronts referee Justin Kennedy after the fight at Prince Charles Park in Nadi on Saturday night. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

Joseph Kwadjo confronts referee Justin Kennedy after the fight at Prince Charles Park in Nadi on Saturday night. Photo: WAISEA NASOKIA

Boxing Commission of Fiji chairman Subash Appana said they are going to look into the matter.

“We cannot allow hooligans inside the ring,” he said.

“I called it a tantrum which is a very light term this is not what you would call the type of behaviour you can expect in the noble sport.

“This is supposed to be a noble sport, in which you put up two gladiators. We don’t what that kind of behaviour.”

Appana said there was no excuse at all as it was a straight out knockdown.

“It was a hard fight. Kwadjo fought a smart fight and he knew what he was doing.

“In the beginning, it was looking like he was going to go down. But then he was there at the end of the fight.

“He was taking punches on the shoulder. He knew that there was weakness in the belly so he was throwing the body shots.

“Naliva responded by covering his belly. It was one of the greatest fights we have seen after a long time.”

‘FOR MY LATE DAD’

A jubilant Naliva said he was finally living the dream of his late dad and former Fijian heavyweight boxing great Filimoni Naliva.

“I came to win on points and did not expect a knockout,” he said.

“I trained hard and kept a low profile and my game plan was not to knock him out but to go the full 12 rounds. The aim was to return this belt to Sorokoba. I thank Kwadjo for giving me another match, that’s true sportsmanship.”

Naliva said he’s ready to defend the title against any of the country’s top contenders.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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