Jai Opetaia Suffers Two Separate Breaks in Jaw
Without question, the last tour of duty for Australian cruiserweight boxer Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17 KO’s) was extremely bittersweet. In that contest, Opetaia rose to the occasion and defeated Mairis Briedis by way of unanimous decision to usurp his IBF cruiserweight title. Unfortunately the new champion had to brave a broken jaw to do so. In fact, it was later revealed that the gritty pugilist had actually suffered breaks on both sides of his jaw.
The debilitating injuries left Opetaia unable to conduct a proper post-fight interview. As would be expected, he rushed to the hospital directly after leaving his training room where he underwent surgery to correct the damage. At this point, it is believed that the Australian will be out of action for at least five months or so. Despite the grueling road that he had to travel to nab the title however, it’s evident that he regrets nothing.
In a recent social media post, Opetaia indicated that he is very anxious to get back in the ring. Armed with his new title, it’s safe to assume that the Australian will reemerge with thoughts of unification in mind. WBC cruiserweight champion Ilunga Makabu (29-2, 25 KO’s) was briefly in the spotlight when undisputed super middleweight champion Canelo Alvarez was threatening to pen a fight with him. Thankfully that meaningless fluff match never materialized. Yet, a unification bout pitting Makabu versus Opetaia has more substance and legitimate purpose.
There is also the interesting potential collision of Opetaia and WBO cruiserweight champion Lawrence “The Sauce” Okolie (18-0, 14 KO’s). Okolie is coming off a unanimous decision win over Michal Cieslak, which stood as the third defense of his WBO strap. The Sauce first knocked out Krzysztof Glowacki back on March 20, 2021 to initially secure the then vacant title. In fact, the decision win with Cieslak snapped a seven-fight knockout streak that Okolie was enjoying. Setting Okolie and Opetaia loose to test their might against one another should prove to be one entertaining scrap. Even better, Okolie has already started the rally cry for this match.
Yet, first things first, let’s give Opetaia the proper time to mend his extensive wounds and then see what the next chapter holds.
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By: Bakari Simpson