IBF cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis’ upcoming title defense against Jai Opetaia, which lasted less than a week between its announcement and postponement, will now take place May 11th in Queensland.
As stated before, Opetaia (21-0, 17 KO) put together a very solid amateur career, but has done jack and squat as a professional. Though aging, relatively inactive, and prone to cringeworthy displays of late, Briedis (28-1, 20 KO) should maul him unless something goes terribly wrong.
A win could very easily propel Briedis into a unification match with WBO champ Lawrence Okolie, whom Briedis joined in the ring after Okolie’s ugly win over Michal Cieslak last weekend. Whoever won would be the clear #1 cruiser on the planet; WBC titlist Ilunga Makabu and WBA champ Arsen Goulamirian are out there, but Makabu should have lost his belt to Thabiso Mchunu earlier this year and Goulamirian hasn’t fought since 2019.
“I look forward to coming to Australia to defend my World Titles,” said Briedis. “I know my opponent is a good boxer. He is a southpaw who is undefeated and who has had a very decent amateur career. As always, I will give my all in training camp and I will come to Australia to show my best boxing. I hope me and Jai can put on a great boxing spectacle for the fans.”
“It’s a dream come true to get a shot at the World Title and on top of that it’s happening right here on the Gold Coast which is brilliant,” said Opetaia. “I’m a resident in Surfers Paradise so you can’t get any more Gold Coast than that. This is my chance to announce myself to the world. I want to bring home another World Title to Queensland just like Jeff Horn did.”