Exclusive: Junior Fa to box on after 'embarrassing' KO defeat

Junior Fa never saw the punch, which left him writhing on the canvas before he picked himself up and was put down again, coming.

"I remember the whole thing but I don’t recall seeing a punch," Fa said in an interview with 1News on Wednesday.

"I was very confused. Usually in the times I’ve been knocked down I’ve known exactly what’s happened – ‘okay it was a left hook or right hand’. This one I didn’t see. I didn’t know what hit me."

Three days after the shocking first-round defeat to 43-year-old Australian Lucas Browne in Melbourne, south Aucklander Fa has spoken of his "embarrassment" at the defeat, defended his corner - including experienced trainer Eugene Bareman - and stated his desire to continue as a professional boxer.

Fa’s manager Mark Keddell has filed a complaint to fight officials in the Australian state of Victoria regarding the two "illegal" punches from Browne which sent Fa to the second loss of his career and first knockout defeat.

Replays appear to show the first one, an overhand right, striking Fa behind the left ear, and the second one further towards the back of the head. But Fa, 32, is taking a philosophical attitude to the appeal, saying he has few expectations.

Junior Fa drags himself off the canvas after being knocked down for the first time by Lucas Browne in their heavyweight fight.

He is keener to reassure that he was in excellent shape going into the fight, which occurred on the undercard of the George Kambosos v Devin Haney lightweight world championship, and that he can’t wait to get in the ring again to right a record which is now 19-2. Fa’s last fight was a close points loss to Joseph Parker in Auckland in February last year.

Those who witnessed the disturbing two minutes or so of this latest defeat, a huge upset, may need further reassuring however, and there have been questions about why his corner and referee Jeffrey Eddy allowed Fa to fight on after he beat the count.

But Fa, who will now tumble down the rankings, said he was grateful that he was given an opportunity to fight on, although the father of two understands others may not take the same view after his head was “scrambled”.

“I trust those guys 100%, there’s no question there,” he said of his corner. “I’m grateful they allowed me to fight on. I know there have been some questions of the ref and he’s got a lot of stick about perhaps letting the fight go on when it shouldn’t have, but I’m grateful that he did.

“I’m grateful that I was able to watch it back and see that I tried so hard to get up and that he allowed me to have another go. If he’d stopped it earlier I would have been questioning a lot. I know that my family and those who love me probably did not like that at all.

Read more: Junior Fa's team to appeal KO result due to 'illegal' punches

“Watching it back, it looks so weird, I’ve never reacted like that before. It scrambled everything in my head. Nothing was connecting. But it makes sense watching it back and knowing where I got hit.”

His manager Keddell told 1News on Sunday night that he and Bareman, the City Kickboxing guru who trains Israel Adesanya, were unsighted and didn’t know the extent of Fa’s difficulties on the canvas. They didn’t see the overhand right which knocked him down either.

“I remember jabbing with him thinking, ‘okay, next time the right hand is there’, and the next thing I know I’m trying to get myself off the ground,” Fa said.

“It wasn’t until after we left the stadium that we all saw it as a team on the highlights. And then I saw it that it got me on the back of the head.

Referee Jeffrey Eddy calls the fight off after Fa is knocked down a second time by Browne.

“Mark is doing his thing appealing it. I’ve seen the knockdowns on video – both punches – and both were on the back of the head which made me think it was on purpose.

“We’ll see what happens. All I can do is rest up and wait for the next one. That will take care of itself.”

Fa added: “Nothing has changed. It’s embarrassing what happened because of the whole situation. I was expected to win and I didn’t. That was embarrassing.

“But in terms of whether it’s left me questioning myself and my boxing ability? No way. I know I’ve still got it and that I smashed it in training. I 100% believe in myself. The training camp was excellent. I did very well. Just on the night I got caught in a bad spot two times.

“I’m not thinking about anything else except getting back in the ring and trying to get some wins.”

Asked what this means for his career in the short term, Fa said: “It can go either way. It could be easier to get bigger fights now because the bigger names don’t see me as much of a threat. It will depend on what the management say.

"I know Mark is very conservative with my career and doesn’t want to push it too fast but I’d take every fight if I could.”