DEPOSED WBO Africa featherweight champion Sebastianus Natanael must get a rematch pronto, says his promoter, Nestor Tobias, but former holder Sakaria Lukas wants a piece of the action first.
Lukas made his ambition clear just before Ghana's Jonathan Layrea scored a controversial fourth-round technical knockout over Natanael in Accra on Friday night, saying he wants to challenge the winner.
However, he may have to wait a while to get a shot at the continental strap, as Tobias says Natanael did not lose the contest and was the victim of suspect officiating.
Tobias is petitioning WBO for an immediate rematch.
"That's bullsh*t," Tobias said about the decision that ended Natanael's brief reign.
"We will take this up with the WBO. I will talk to the supervisor of the fight, then I will take it to the headquarters of the WBO. There will be a rematch, there's no doubt about that."
According to a report by online publication Boxing Africa, the fight was stopped in the fourth round on the advice of ringside doctor Samuel Quaye after Natanael suffered a cut above the right eye.
"I had to ask the referee to stop the fight before it affects his brain, which may be dangerous. I did my job, and every medical practitioner would have done the same."
Tobias said it made no sense to stop the fight and award Laryea the victory when his fighter was uninhibited.
The stoppage incensed Nataneal, who believed he was the victim of hometown cooking, Boxing Africa observed.
"I was not treated fairly at all, because this is a professional bout and not amateur, and cuts are normal," Natanael said.
"I was fine despite the cut, and I haven't seen anywhere else in this world that a referee will stop a fight just because of that."
Laryea started strong, winning the first with combinations that excited his kinsmen ringside, Boxing Africa reported.
In round two, the tide swiftly turned as the Namibian launched a two-fisted attack to the head and body, applying steady pressure.
It was more of the same in the third as Laryea was forced on his heels. However, a single right from Laryea in that round opened the cut.
The Ghanaian went back to boxing in the fourth as Nataneal continued to press forward. After inspecting the cut earlier in the frame, Quaye motioned for another look.
Moments later, it was all over.
"From my understanding, the referee is the only person who can stop the fight. Not the doctor, not even the commission. So, in this case, the referee made a big blunder. He kept on calling the doctor every time he sees blood," Tobias said.
"He was supposed to go to the scorecard or declare the fight a non-contest or a technical draw. He didn't do that. He just stopped the fight on a TKO. That's bullsh*t. We can't accept that," he said.
Tobias said the cut was caused by a head butt, which the referee inexplicably failed to report to the judges, and not a punch.
He made reference to compatriot Lukas 'The Demolisher's Ndafoluma's WBO Africa middleweight title fight against Cristiano Ndombassy, which went the full distance in Gqeberha, South Africa, a week earlier.
The Angolan boxer's left eye had swollen shut by the fourth round, but despite repeated examinations by the ringside doctor, he was allowed to fight on before losing by a unanimous decision.
Tobias said the referee applied amateur boxing rules in a professional bout on Friday.
"Boxing is about sweat and blood," he said.
"I think this referee was watching too much Olympic boxing. Because that's where you stop when you see blood," he said.
"As long as the boxer is not disturbed, the blood was not running into the boxer's eye, and the boxer could see clearly, there was no need to call the doctor to the ring.
"Like I said, it was not a punch, It was a head butt, and the referee should have indicated this to the main table. He didn't do that," Tobias said.
Meanwhile, Lukas' handler, Immanuel Moses of African Connection Boxing, said Lukas should be next to challenge for the title.
"We'll push the fight through the WBO to order that fight Africa is too small, and the best must fight the best," said Moses.
"I know WBO would want that great match-up, and those are the fights the fans want to see. It's nothing personal, it's pure boxing, and I don't see WBO rejecting this fight.
"I believe Desert Storm is the best featherweight in Africa, and the only way this fight cannot happen is if the other camp is scared, and not even the money can be a problem," continued Moses, who rates Natanael as the third-best Namibian in the division behind Lukas and Natanael Kakololo.
"The time is now to make the best fight the best. We'll put pressure on the WBO to order this fight. We want that belt ASAP."