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Jai Opetaia vs Mairis Briedis IBF cruiserweight earth title battle — when is the battle? How can I enjoy?

Australian boxing is booming.

Aussie fighters are frequently difficult the quite greatest in the globe, successful belts and battling in entrance of packed properties the two house and abroad.

So it could shock some to listen to that Australia is at the moment devoid of a men’s earth champion — whilst shout out to Australia’s two women’s IBF planet champions, junior featherweight Cherneka Johnson and bantamweight Ebanie Bridges, for traveling the flag.

Nevertheless, that could change on Saturday night when Jai Opetaia mounts his title challenge from Latvian superstar Mairis Briedis at the Gold Coastline Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Opetaia is just 27 years old, but this title shot is the fruits of about a decade’s function, a lot of it in the spotlight.

When he was just 16 he competed in the heavyweight division at the London 2012 Olympic Video games, Australia’s youngest-at any time Olympic boxer.

In London he was narrowly defeated in his initially bout by Azerbaijan’s eventual bronze medallist, Teymur Mammadov.

Soon after showing at the 2014 Commonwealth Online games — where he also came up short towards an eventual medallist, Nigeria’s Efetobor Apochi, Opetaia moved into the skilled ranks and has given that notched up 21 spectacular victories without having defeat, 17 by way of knockout.

He is the younger cub in this bout, but came throughout as massively confident at Thursday’s press convention.

Jai Opetaia has never been in this kind of good shape, according to his promoter.(Getty Photos: Chris Hyde)

“I’ve finished almost everything suitable,” Opetaia stated.

“I know this is a big stage up from my previous competition, but my very last fights, I blew them out of the drinking water.

Whilst he possesses a formidable knockout record, Opetaia is a intelligent boxer, a southpaw whose movement can make him an elusive target and difficult prospect for any opponent.

Australian boxing doyen Jeff Fenech charges Opetaia as a person of the most qualified, if not the most skilled big guy to appear out of Australia.

He is picked up three TKO wins in his very last 3 fights even with boxing with an wounded hand.

Now, inspite of needing medical procedures on a rib injury a couple of months in the past, his promoter Dean Lonergan explained that he is the fittest he’s ever been.

“I have never ever observed Jai in superior condition,” Lonergan said.

Jai Opetaia holds a boxing stance
Jai Opetaia reported he is been a slice previously mentioned his previous opponents.(Getty Photos: Chris Hyde)

“Proper now we have received the variety a person, undisputed range one particular cruiserweight in the globe, sitting down throughout from us and I assume this is the specific obstacle Jai wants.

“Each individual time we put an opponent in entrance of Jai … he ways up.” 

Stepping up is exactly what Opetaia will need to do while if he is to develop into Australia’s most up-to-date environment boxing winner, promising that he is inclined to enter “tricky waters” and that the struggle will be “a war”.

Standing in his way is 37-12 months-old Briedis, a a few-time earth winner who now has the IBF and The Ring belts in his locker.

Briedis has a report of 28-1 and is acknowledged as the strongest of the 4 recent cruiserweight earth title holders, in advance of Britain’s Lawrence Okolie (WBO), Ilinga Makabu of the Congo (WBC) and French-Armenian fighter Arsen Goulamirian (WBA).

That one particular specialist defeat arrived in the Globe Boxing Tremendous Collection semi closing versus Oleksandr Usyk back again in 2018.

In a single of the fights of the year, Usyk claimed a bulk determination more than Briedis in Latvia, convincing two of the judges to give him a 115-113 factors acquire. The other choose scored it a 114-114 draw.

Mairis Briedis punches Oleksadr Usyk with the fighters close together
Mairis Briedis (left) fought one particular of the fights of the calendar year in opposition to Oleksandr Usyk in 2018, who handed the Latvian his only job defeat.(Reuters: Ints Kalnins)

You’ve possibly heard of Usyk.

The Ukrainian went on to unify all the environment cruiserweight titles before outboxing his fellow gold medallist from London 2012, Anthony Joshua, to become unified heavyweight winner of the earth past calendar year — titles he will defend in Saudi Arabia on August 20.

Usyk, who is a southpaw like Opetaia, is rated as one particular of the best pound-for-pound boxers in the entire world and is the latest fighter to confirm that the cruiserweight division harbours some severe talent, incorporating his identify to the likes of David Haye and Evander Holyfield, who each went from undisputed at 200 kilos to winning a strap in the sport’s glamour division.

Unbeaten in his 19 experienced fights, Usyk prices his 2018 greater part selection earn about Briedis through the Planet Boxing Tremendous Series as a person of his toughest contests: “The most tricky 12 rounds I have ever had in my career,” Usyk reported later on.

That is why Lonergan claimed a win for Opetaia will charge as a single of the largest in Australian boxing heritage.

He did add, though, that it could possibly just be Opetaia’s time.

“Mairis at the minute, he’s 37 many years of age, he’s appear to the stop of his reign, he can not go on for ever and Jai is hungry … it is been feeding him for the final six months,” Lonergan said.

Opetaia agreed.

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