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Jai Opetaia injures ribs, Mairis Briedis fight delayed again

The bout was scheduled for April 6th, then May 11th

Jai Opetaia World Title Fight Announcement Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images

A bit of unfortunate news that slipped through the cracks this week. Cruiserweight contender Jai Opetaia has suffered a rib injury, further delaying a clash with Mairis Briedis that was previously scheduled for May 11th.

The pair were originally scheduled to meet on April 6th before Briedis (28-1, 20 KO) came down with COVID. Briedis had been angling for a unification match with WBO champ Lawrence Okolie, but it’s unclear how long Opetaia (21-0, 17 KO) will be stuck on the shelf.

Opetaia isn’t a mandatory challenger, so even a stickler like the IBF shouldn’t have an issue with Briedis facing Okolie if Opetaia can’t bounce back in a timely manner. That said, Wasserman’s press release says a new date for Briedis-Opetaia will be announced “soon.”

It’s yet another setback for Briedis, who’s managed just two fights in nearly three years. He still has a claim to being the top 200-pounder in the game, but it’s a damn shame to see all that WBSS momentum just sputter out.