About the cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia’s upcoming matchup
About the cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia’s upcoming matchup. When he overcame Mairis Briedis to win the IBF and The Ring cruiserweight world championships on the Gold Coast in July, Jai Opetaia cemented his place as one of boxing’s best fighters. In dramatic fashion, the 27-year-old Australian defeated the Latvian champion despite having two broken jaws.
In his first world title match, Opetaia got off to a great start, showing off his whole skill set and shattering Briedis’ nose in the process. Early on in the fight, Opetaia suffered a broken jaw on one side, and as the rounds continued, Briedis fought his way back into the fight. The hometown favorite Opetaia was noticeably slowed down in the eleventh round by a second break on the other side of his jaw, but he managed to fight until the final chimes.
Opetaia became the only active male world champion from Australia when the judges awarded him the unanimous points victory (116-112 twice, 115-113).
Next fight for Jai Opetaia
Opetaia needs to fix his jaw as a matter of priority. He had surgery the day following the match and was discharged from the hospital on Monday. Following the fight, Dr. Ben Manion, a ringside physician, described the typical healing period. He should be able to light train after eight weeks, according to Manion, because bones often regain 80 percent of their strength after that period. Before he can fight again, it will be three, four, or five months.
There won’t be a lack of prospective opponents for Opetaia to face after that. After the bout, promoter Dean Lonergan suggested fellow Australian Jason Whateley as a candidate (10-0). Lonergan remarked, ‘My desire would be that we fight in Australia versus an Australian as soon as it’s right. Jason Whateley is the person who stands out the most. He’s in the top 15 in the world, has competed in 10 professional fights, and would be a wonderful opponent for Jai, but for now, we’ll have to wait and see.’
It will ultimately depend on what Jai desires, says the speaker. ‘We’ll just have a discussion about what he wants, and then go forward. It appears that the 31-year-old Whateley is on track to face Polish veteran Mateusz Masternak in a bout for the IBF belt (46-5). If Whateley defeats the 35-year-old, he will advance to mandatory challenger status with the IBF, opening the door for a matchup with Opetaia after his jaw heals.’
The WBO belt, which is presently held by Englishman Lawrence Okolie, was another belt that Lonergan suggested he might pursue (18-0). ‘I’m considering my alternatives. “If the contract is correct and all sides are on the same page, Jai wants the fight. His objective after winning this fight is to win the WBO belt,’ Lonergan added.
A rematch with Briedis is one choice we can ostensibly rule out. The 37-year-old congratulated Opetaia after the fight and asked for a rematch, but Lonergan was not interested: ‘I will not put Jai in the ring with a beast like Briedis ever again.’ Since he is currently regarded as the best cruiserweight in the world, Jai wants to unite the class, and that is a fact. Okolie, 29, has indicated that he wants to take on Opetaia.
Who is the world’s top cruiserweight?
Most divisions have more than one ‘world champion’ according to boxing’s four primary governing bodies. Opetaia is presently in possession of the coveted The Ring magazine title, which isn’t sanctioned by any organization and can only be attained by defeating the incumbent holder, as well as the IBF belt.
The 200-pound champions as of right now are shown below (90.7kg).
- Jai Opetaia, IBF, The Ring (22-0)
- Lawrence Okolie is the WBO (18-0)
- Ilunga Makabu is a WBC (29-2)
- Arsen Goulamirian, ‘Super’ champion for the WBA (26-0).
- Ryad Mehry (30-1)
About the cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia’s upcoming matchup.