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Jai Opetaia
JaiOpetaia.png
Jai Opetaia in 2023
Statistics
Real name Jai Tapu Opetaia
Rated at
Height 6 ft 2 in
Reach 76 in
Nationality Australian
Born (1995-06-30) 30 June 1995 (age 28)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Stance Southpaw
Boxing record
Total fights 23
Wins 23
Wins by KO 18
Medal record
Men's Boxing
Representing  Australia
World Junior Championships
Gold 2011 Astana Light heavyweight
World Youth Championships
Bronze 2012 Yerevan Heavyweight

Jai Opetaia (born 30 June 1995) is an Australian professional boxer. He has held the International Boxing Federation (IBF) and the Ring magazine cruiserweight titles since 2022. As an amateur, he won a bronze medal at the 2012 Youth World Championships and represented Australia at the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games. As of February 2023, Opetaia is ranked the world's best active cruiserweight by The Ring magazine, and the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board, second by BoxRec, and third best by ESPN.

Early life

Opetaia was born in Sydney, New South Wales and is of Samoan and European Australian heritage. He is related to Australian football player Tim Cahill and former rugby league player Ben Roberts.

Amateur career

In Opetaia's amateur career, he won the Light Heavyweight title at the 2011 Junior World Championships then qualified for the 2012 Olympics as a Heavyweight at the age of 16, making him the youngest ever Australian Olympic boxer.

Opetaia won the Junior World title in Kazakhstan in July 2011.

At the Olympic qualifier in Canberra 2012 he had a tough final against New Zealander David Light but prevailed 15:10.

In 2012, Opetaia got the bronze medal at the AIBA World Youth Championships in the heavyweight division. Later that year, Opetaia competed at the 2012 Olympics, however did not pass the first round of the tournament.

Professional career

Early career

Opetaia was scheduled to face Daniel Ammann for the vacant WBC-OPBF and Australian cruiserweight titles on July 15, 2017. He won the fight by a ninth-round technical knockout. Opetaia was next scheduled to face Frankie Lopez for the vacant IBF Youth cruiserweight title on October 21, 2017. He won the fight by a first-round technical knockout.

Opetaia made his first Australian Cruiserweight title defense against Benjamin Kelleher on January 17, 2018. He won the fight by a third-round technical knockout. Opetaia fought for yet another regional title on April 7, 2018, when he was set to face Lukas Paszkowsky for the vacant WBO Asia-Pacific cruiserweight title. He won the fight by a second-round technical knockout. Opetaia made his first WBO Asia-Pacific cruiserweight title defense against Kurtis Pegoraro on June 29, 2018. The fight was simultaneously a fight for the vacant IBF Pan-Pacific cruiserweight title. He won the fight by a second-round knockout.

Opetaia fought Navosa Ioata for the vacant WBA Oceania interim cruiserweight title on May 15, 2019, and won the fight by an eight-round technical knockout. Opetaia made his first title defense two months later, on July 27, 2019, against Nikolas Charalampous, while also fighting for the vacant WBO Global cruiserweight title. He won the fight by unanimous decision. Opetaia made the first defense of these two titles, and fought for the inaugural IBF Asia-Oceania cruiserweight title, against Mark Flanagan on November 16, 2019. He won the fight by an eight-round technical knockout.

Opetaia was scheduled to defend his IBF Asia-Oceania and WBO Global cruiserweight titles in a rematch with Benjamin Kelleher on October 22, 2020. He won the fight by a sixth-round technical knockout.

IBF cruiserweight champion

Opetaia vs. Briedis

Opetaia was scheduled to challenge the reigning IBF and The Ring cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis on 6 April 2022. The bout was postponed on February 16, as Briedis tested positive for COVID-19. The bout was rescheduled for 11 May, and was expected to take place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia. The bout was once again postponed on April 8, as Opetaia suffered a rib injury, and rescheduled for July 2. Opetaia won the fight by unanimous decision, with scores of 116–112, 116–112 and 115–113. During the fight, Opetaia badly broke his jaw in two places. Unable to give an interview following the match, he was instead taken directly to the hospital to undergo surgery to repair the fractures.

Opetaia vs. Thompson

Opetaia was expected to face mandatory challenger Mateusz Masternak in early 2023, but was forced to undergo left shoulder surgery on February 1, 2023. He requested a 60-day medical extension from the IBF before entering into negotiations with Masternak, which was granted on February 18. The two camps failed to come to terms despite the extension and a pursed bid was called by the sanctioning body for July 15, 2023. Masternak withdrew from the bid a day before it was supposed to take place. The IBF removed Masternak's mandatory status the very next day and ordered Opeteia to face the #2 ranked cruiserweight contender Richard Riakporhe instead. Riakporhe himself withdrew from the negotiations on August 8, 2023, shortly before a scheduled purse bid hearing.

The IBF designated former champion Mairis Briedis as the next mandatory challenger on August 10, 2023. The sanctioning body ordered the two to enter into negotiations that very same day. Opetaia's team requested an immediate purse bid in lie of a negotiation period. The sanctioning body indefinitely suspended the purse bid hearing on August 22. This allowed Opetaia to enter into negotiations with Jordan Thompson for a voluntary title defense that took place at the Wembley Arena in London, England on September 30, 2023. Opetaia defeated Thompson by TKO in the fourth round and made the first successful defense of his belt.

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
23 fights 23 wins 0 losses
By knockout 18 0
By decision 5 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
23 Win 23–0 Jordan Thompson TKO 4 (12), 0:20 30 Sep 2023 OVO Arena Wembley, London, England Retained IBF and The Ring cruiserweight titles
22 Win 22–0 Mairis Briedis UD 12 2 Jul 2022 Convention & Exhibition Centre, Gold Coast, Australia Won IBF and The Ring cruiserweight titles
21 Win 21–0 Daniel Russell TKO 3 (8), 1:44 4 Dec 2021 Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, Australia
20 Win 20–0 Benjamin Kelleher TKO 6 (10), 1:50 22 Oct 2020 Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, Australia Retained IBF Asia-Oceania and WBO Global cruiserweight titles
19 Win 19–0 Mark Flanagan TKO 8 (10), 3:00 16 Nov 2019 Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, Australia Retained WBA Oceania and WBO Global cruiserweight titles;
Won inaugural IBF Asia-Oceania cruiserweight title
18 Win 18–0 Nikolas Charalampous UD 10 27 Jul 2019 Luna Park, Sydney, Australia Retained WBA Oceania interim cruiserweight title;
Won vacant WBO Global cruiserweight title
17 Win 17–0 Navosa Ioata TKO 8 (10), 1:13 15 May 2019 The Star, Sydney, Australia Won vacant WBA Oceania interim cruiserweight title
16 Win 16–0 Kurtis Pegoraro KO 2 (10), 1:25 29 Jun 2018 Pullman Hotel and Resort, Brisbane, Australia Retained WBO Asia-Pacific cruiserweight title;
Won vacant IBF Pan-Pacific cruiserweight title
15 Win 15–0 Lukas Paszkowsky TKO 2 (10), 2:35 7 Apr 2018 Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, Australia Won vacant WBO Asia-Pacific cruiserweight title
14 Win 14–0 Benjamin Kelleher TKO 3 (10), 2:36 17 Jan 2018 The Star, Sydney, Australia Retained Australian cruiserweight title
13 Win 13–0 Frankie Lopez TKO 1 (10), 2:55 21 Oct 2017 Function Centre, Melbourne, Australia Won vacant IBF Youth cruiserweight title
12 Win 12–0 Daniel Ammann TKO 9 (10), 1:49 15 Jul 2017 Wests City Club, Newcastle, Australia Won vacant WBC-OPBF and Australian cruiserweight titles
11 Win 11–0 Moses Havea TKO 2 (8), 1:03 12 May 2017 North Sydney Leagues Club, Sydney, Australia Retained ANBF New South Wales heavyweight title
10 Win 10–0 Kyle Brumby TKO 2 (8), 1:26 8 Apr 2017 Doltone House, Sydney, Australia
9 Win 9–0 Togasilimai Letoa TKO 2 (4), 0:30 10 Feb 2017 Faleata Sporting Complex, Apia, Samoa
8 Win 8–0 Isileli Fa TKO 3 (6), 0:36 23 Dec 2016 Southern Cross Group Stadium, Sydney, Australia
7 Win 7–0 Peter Brennan KO 1 (8), 2:46 9 Dec 2016 Hordern Pavilion, Sydney, Australia Won vacant ANBF New South Wales heavyweight title
6 Win 6–0 Uria Afamasaga TKO 2 (4), 0:37 14 Oct 2016 The Silverdome, Launceston, Australia
5 Win 5–0 Sefo Falekaono KO 6 (6), 1:11 22 Jul 2016 Mediterranean House, Sydney, Australia
4 Win 4–0 Orlando Vazquez PTS 4 23 Apr 2016 Centro de Usos Múltiples, Los Mochis, Mexico
3 Win 3–0 Randall Rayment UD 6 28 Nov 2015 Mansfield Tavern, Brisbane, Australia
2 Win 2–0 Rob Manual TKO 1 (4), 2:46 14 Aug 2015 Melbourne Pavilion, Melbourne, Australia
1 Win 1–0 Isileli Fa UD 4 1 Aug 2015 Stadium Southland, Invercargill, New Zealand

See also

  • List of southpaw stance boxers
  • List of world cruiserweight boxing champions
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