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Jai Opetaia vs Mairis Briedis rematch leads Fury vs Usyk undercard

The lineup also features Joe Cordina vs Anthony Cacace and Sergey Kovalev vs Robin Sirwan Safar

Jai Opetaia v Mairis Briedis Photo by Peter Wallis/Getty Images
Patrick Stumberg is a freelance writer for SB Nation, first joining the network in 2011 before linking up with Bad Left Hook in 2015.

Saudi Arabia’s Turki Al-Sheikh has revealed the full undercard lineup for Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s February 17th undisputed heavyweight title fight, which features two additional championship bouts and a number of noteworthy fighters.

The (other) featured attraction of the evening sees former cruiserweight champions Jai Opetaia (24-0, 19 KO) and Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20 KO) once again square off for the now-vacant IBF title. Injury kept this rematch on ice for over a year and it seemed destined for the scrapheap after the IBF stripped Opetaia and ordered Briedis to face “Zurdo” Ramirez for the title.

News broke over the weekend that Ramirez would instead challenge Arsen Goulamirian for the WBA belt in March, so we’re back at square one. I’d still love to see Opetaia and Briedis run it back, so I’m not complaining.

Also on tap are Joe Cordina’s (17-0, 9 KO) previously announced super featherweight title defense against Anthony Cacace (21-0, 7 KO) and the return of Sergey Kovalev (35-4-1, 29 KO), who makes his second appearance of the last four years against Robin Sirwan Safar (16-0, 12 KO). The poster lists the latter as a light heavyweight bout, but Safar has never fought at 175 and Kovalev has claimed that he’s campaigning at 200 from now own, so it’s almost certainly a cruiserweight tussle.

Isaac Lowe (24-2-3, 8 KO) also sees action against Hasibullah Ahmadi (16-1, 5 KO), while TBA runs a big boy gauntlet against Moses Itauma, Bakhodir Jalolov, and David Nyika. Itauma has a standing order to challenge Solomon Dacres for the British title, but if they haven’t hashed that out by now, I’m not convinced they’ll do so with just a month until fight night.

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