Zerafa camp doubles down on boycott threat

Michael Zerafa’s camp has doubled down on threats they’ll boycott next month’s grudge match with Tim Tszyu if veteran referee John Cauchi is appointed to control the show-stopper in Newcastle.

Zerafa remains livid with Cauchi for not stopping his 2019 rematch with Jeff Horn when his bloodied and battered rival was clearly suffering with a vicious cut above his left eye.

The doctor intervened to inspect, allowing Horn to soldier on before he landed a miraculous blow to send Zerafa crashing to the canvas.

Zerafa maintains the defeat in Brisbane cost him more than a million dollars and says he won’t fight Tszyu on July 7 if 74-year-old Cauchi is asked to referee.

But a no-show could cost 29-year-old Zerafa up to another half a million dollars.

Zerafa’s trainer-manager Sam Labruna, though, insists the threat is “real”.

“It is like this, we had a referee who potentially cost us over a million dollars because the next fight was over a million dollars-plus for Zerafa,” Labruna told AAP on Thursday.

“We just thought in the ninth round what he (Cauchi) done, it’s not even legal what he done.

“And somehow this has all just been gone and swept under the carpet.

“But not for us.”

Cauchi also came under fire last week for calling one of Paul Gallen’s corner men a “f…ing idiot” for protesting when he stopped the fight early in the 10th round when it was clear the retired rugby league great had copped enough from Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni.

“The Gallen fight as well there was controversy with him again,” Labruna said.

“This guy talking to the fighters and the people the way he does, I’ve never seen this before.

“So at the end of the day, it’s no good saying we’re going to get a pay day and then we’re going to get a loss because things aren’t controlled right. It’s not going to happen.

“There’s a lot at stake here.”

Labruna said he’d made it clear “since day dot” in negotiations with promoters No Limit Boxing that Zerafa wouldn’t fight Tszyu with Cauchi in charge.

But the appointment of the referee is out of the promoters’ control, with NSW Combat Sports Authority to decide in the coming week who’ll be in charge.

“If we don’t get neutral officials that we all agree on and Cauchi referees – he needs to have an RDO, he can’t even be at the venue,” Labruna said.

“If we can’t get what we’re asking for, we won’t be coming to Newcastle. We’ve spoken about this from day dot.”

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