UPSET ALERT: Jai Opetaia Takes Briedis’ IBF Title With A Broken Jaw!

Jai Opetaia Weathers The Storm To Become The New IBF Champion

Collage of IBF Champion Jai Opetaia
IBF Champion Jai Opetaia (Credit: @jaiopetaia_) | Highlights of Opetaia vs Briedis

Jai Opetaia Becomes The New IBF Cruiserweight Champion


In the land down under, boxing fans were treated to a major event as the newly crowned IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17KO), dethroned Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20KO) in a brutal war.

The young Australian is an accomplished two-time Australia National Amateur Champion, a Bronze medal winner in the 2012 AIBA championships, and a 2012 Olympian. His success in the professional ranks has been fruitful; winning both the WBO Global and IBF Oceania titles which catapulted him to a #4 ranking with the IBF. Opetaia is a good southpaw that likes to use that 6’3″ height and 76-inch reach to keep opponents on the outside of the jab before landing that powerful left hand.

Briedis is arguably the best fighter in the division. His only defeat was by, the hands of 3kingsboxing number one ranked fighter and unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk back in 2018. He also won the second World Boxing Super Series tournament at cruiserweight. Despite the reach, height, and age disadvantage, his championship-level experience made him the favorite to win the fight.

Prior to the bout, 3kingsboxing.com posed the question, “Is Jai Opetaia Ready For The Big Leagues?” This was answered in astounding fashion by the time the final bell rang!

HIGH-LEVEL BOXING

The early rounds were filled with excitement as both fighters showed high-level boxing ability. The champion was getting warmed up landing the straight right hand followed by hooks to the body.

Opetaia’s fast hands and pure boxing ability were on display as he landed the straight left hand relentlessly. The young challenger’s footwork was on point as he evaded counter-punches landing shots of his own.

Round four had the fans on their feet as Opetaia’s counter-punching ability was on full display. He landed a perfect right uppercut that busted the nose of Briedis, who was on wobbly legs. The champion never went down but it was clear he was definitely hurt.

As the fight continued the young challenger went into “hunter mode”, targeting Briedis’ bloody nose. Opetaia controlled the middle rounds with the jab and even hurt the champion with a bruising right hook to the body.

Briedis showed that championship pedigree by landing two right hands that rocked the Australian boxer. The champion charged forward-looking to follow up with more damage before getting caught by the left hand that momentarily froze him.

A TEST OF WILL

There were questions about Opetaia being ready for such a huge moment, and he answered them with flying colors.

The championship rounds were worth the price of admission.  Briedis was not done and stormed back by fighting through the pain, and blood. Several thunderous right hands had the challenger in survival mode. Although, Opetaia still dealt damage as the champion stalked him around the ring.

The last two rounds had fans standing on their feet as Briedis landed a devastating uppercut that broke the jaw of Opetaia, who refused to give in to the pain and fought valiantly until the final bell. It was said the challenger’s jaw could have broken as early as the second round, however, the damage was evident in the championship rounds.

When it was over, one judge scored it 115-113, and two had it 116-112 for the newly crowned IBF champion Opetaia. 3kingsboxing agrees with the latter two score cards.

The sky is the limit for the 27-year old new champion. He has the opportunity to take over the division or play it safe. A rematch may be in order but one major match-up stylistically that is very intriguing is a unification against WBO champion Lawrence Okolie!

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By: Garrisson Bland

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About Garrisson Bland 1419 Articles
Garrisson Bland - Head of Public Relations/Senior Journalist. Garrisson is the Head of Public relations for 3kingsboxing.com as well as a senior writer. He is also the host of YouTube boxing show "Truth And Facts Sports Talk."