Get ready for an exhilarating showdown as Jai Opetaia, the Aussie champ, embarks on a daring mission to defend his IBF and Ring Magazine world championship titles against the undefeated Englishman, Jordan Thompson. But here’s the twist – Opetaia is taking this battle to enemy territory, heading to London for a high-stakes collision set for September 30 (October 1 down under).
Opetaia’s journey to his first title defense has been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. After enduring the frustration of multiple opponents pulling out, the IBF has finally granted him the green light for a voluntary title defense, paving the way for the epic clash with Thompson.
Originally, Opetaia was slated to face Mateusz Masternak, but that plan unraveled when the Polish fighter withdrew from negotiations. Desperate for a voluntary defense, Opetaia’s team faced denial, being instructed instead to negotiate with Englishman Richard Riakporhe and his promoter, Boxxer. However, a deal couldn’t be reached, leading to the Riakporhe bout going to purse bid. In a shocking twist, Boxxer pulled their fighter just hours before the bid was due.
Opetaia, co-promoted by Matchroom and Tasman Fighters, was then ordered to square off against Mairis Briedis, the man he had defeated to seize the championship. However, Briedis’ injury made it clear he couldn’t compete within a reasonable timeframe. This prompted the IBF to grant Opetaia, who had spent over a year out of the ring since his victory over Briedis, the opportunity for a voluntary title defense.
But make no mistake, Opetaia’s opponent, Thompson, may not be the mandatory challenger, but he’s no pushover. Standing tall at 6’6″ and boasting a perfect record of 15 fights with 12 knockouts to his name, he’s a formidable adversary.
Adding to the intrigue, Thompson will have the home advantage at the OVO Arena Wembley, setting the stage for an electrifying battle.
Mark your calendars, as Opetaia vs. Thompson shares the spotlight with the Las Vegas blockbuster showdown between Saul “Canelo” Alvarez and Jermell Charlo on the same date. While the time zones may differ, Australian fans can catch the action live in the early hours of Sunday, October 1, for an unforgettable boxing extravaganza.
Jai Opetaia vs Jordan Thompson UNDERCARDS