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Mairis Briedis comes down with COVID, Jai Opetaia title defense delayed

The fight was initially penciled in for April 6th

LATVIA-RIGA-WORLD BOXING-PRIESS CONFERENCE Photo by Edijs Palens/Xinhua via Getty Images

That didn’t take long. Less than a week after news broke that Mairis Briedis would defend his IBF cruiserweight title against unbeaten Jai Opetaia, promoter Dean Lonergan revealed that the fight would be pushed back “three or four weeks” after Briedis got a 1-2 punch of COVID and the flu.

Whenever it eventually takes place, it’ll be the first world title fight held on Australian soil since Jeff Horn upset Manny Pacquiao in 2017.

Briedis (28-1, 20 KO) has not fought more than once in a calendar year since 2018, and it remains to be seen how well he can bounce back from illness at 37. If there was any time for the credentialed but unproven Opetaia (21-0, 17 KO) to pull the upset, it would be now.

Unfortunate as the delay may be, it’s still a very good time to be an Aussie fight fan thanks to this fight and George Kambosos Jr.’s June 5th title defense.

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