Opetaia On IBF: “I Feel Like People Are Working Against Us”

Jai Opetaia Splits with IBF in Disgust

Jai Opetaia speaks out against the IBF
Jai Opetaia speaks out against the IBF | credit: Matchroom

Jai Opetaia Voices his Outrage Over IBF Threats

Jai Opetaia (23-0, 18 KOs) is a fighter with a sizeable chip on his shoulder leading up to his December 23 fight against Ellis Zorro (17-0, 7 KOs) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Fighting on a star-studded card promoted as the Day of Reckoning, Opetaia is hoping to unleash his frustration at boxing’s powers that be, most notably the IBF.

Initially, this was to be an IBF cruiserweight title defense for Opetaia. But on December 9, the 28-year-old vacated the belt after word came down that the sanctioning body threatened to strip him of the title. The IBF claimed Opetaia was obligated to defend the belt against their mandatory cruiserweight challenger, former IBF champion Mairis Briedis.

To say Opetaia is perturbed by what has evolved would be an understatement. Speaking to Matchroom Boxing, he talked about having to relinquish the title and his displeasure with the IBF.

“The whole journey to getting to this process has been frustrating, but also motivating. I feel like people are working against us.”


Opetaia captured the IBF belt with a unanimous decision victory over Briedis in July 2022. In August 2023, the sanctioning body ordered a rematch between the two men.

But at the time of that order, Briedis was injured. Despite that reality, the IBF issued a threat to strip him anyway. Feeling boxed in and left with few options, Team Opetaia did what they felt was best for them.

Opetaia has aspirations of either winning another world title at cruiserweight or possibly campaigning at bridgerweight in 2024. No longer concerned with the IBF and what he perceives as their shenanigans, Opetaia plans to vent his anger out on Zorro.

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About Mike W.2010 Articles
Mike is the host of boxing podcast "Pound 4 Pound Boxing Report" and is a Senior Writer for 3kingsboxing.com.