Hearn Hints at Opetaia Possible Move To Bridgerweight
Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn is annoyed with the IBF’s threat to strip Jai Opetaia (23-0, 18KO) prior to fighting Ellis Zorro (17-0, 7KO). Displeased with the situation, Hearn hinted at the possibility of a fight for the newly created WBA Bridgerweight championship which they have dubbed the “super cruiserweight division”.
In August, the boxing world was taken by surprise when the IBF ordered a rematch between Opetaia and former champion Mairis Briedis, whom he defeated for the title in 2022.
Opetaia, set to defend the title on a star-studded card in Saudi Arabia on December 23, now faces the threat of being stripped of the title if he proceeds with the Zorro fight. The IBF’s decision sent shockwaves throughout the boxing world as they demanded that the Aussie fight the former Latvian champion first.
A TITLE OPPORTUNITY COULD BE ON THE HORIZON IN NEW DIVISION
Expressing his frustration in an interview with iFL TV, Hearn disclosed that a fight with Briedis was agreed upon for March. However, the IBF’s refusal to allow Opetaia to fight may result in a potential championship fight in a new division.
“I’m really disappointed. You know Briedis isn’t ready to fight, I don’t understand. We’ve agreed to fight Briedis in March. So Opetaia is ready to fight in December, but the IBF won’t let him.”
“We’re going to vacate. . and we might even challenge for the super cruiserweight championship just to add another belt on the line to become a two-division champion.”
Hearn is referring to the WBA’s belt, as the organization has joined the WBC in adding an eighteenth division. While Opetaia expressed a desire to move up in weight, aiming for the heavyweight division in the long term, the current situation might accelerate those plans.