'Not even legal': Ref uproar behind boxer's Tim Tszyu boycott threat

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Michael Zerafa has threatened to boycott the fight with Tim Tszyu if referee John Cauchi is in charge. Pic: AAP
Michael Zerafa has threatened to boycott the fight with Tim Tszyu if referee John Cauchi is in charge. Pic: AAP

Aussie boxer Michael Zerafa is refusing to let his beef with referee John Cauchi go away after his team doubled down on a threat to boycott next month's bout with Tim Tzyu if the offical is appointed.

Cauchi was the referee for Jeff Horn's miraculous 2019 win against Zerefa when the former Aussie champion appeared to be down and out.

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Zerafa and his team remain adamant that Cauchi should have stopped the fight when a battered and bruised Horn was clearly suffering from 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's team have long insisted that the loss cost the boxer more than a million dollars.

Still incensed by the referee's judgement in that fight, Zerafa's camp have threatened to pull the pin on the July 7 grudge match with Tszyu, if Cauchi is named the referee in Newcastle.

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.

The boxer's team claim that Cauchi's decision to halt the fight in the ninth round while Horn had the cut examined by a doctor - was the break that swung the fight in his opponent's favour.

"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."

Michael Zerafa is still filthy about the manner in which he lost a 2019 fight against Jeff Horn. Pic: Getty
Michael Zerafa is still filthy about the manner in which he lost a 2019 fight against Jeff Horn. Pic: Getty

Referee also at centre of Gallen drama

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."

Paul Gallen's adviser Peter Mitrevski was involved in a heated exchange with referee John Cauchi after the ex-NRL star's loss to Justis Huni on Wednesday. Pictures: Main Event/Getty Images
Paul Gallen's adviser Peter Mitrevski was involved in a heated exchange with referee John Cauchi after the ex-NRL star's loss to Justis Huni on Wednesday. Pictures: Main Event/Getty Images

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."

with AAP

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