Jai Opetaia Stirs Debate With Reports Of Knocking Out Tyson Fury In A Sparring Session
That is according to his co-promoters, Tasman Fighters. Opetaia was brought to the Fury camp to help him prepare for his Undisputed Heavyweight Championship fight with Oleksandr Usyk. The heavyweight square off on February 17, 2024.
Opetaia is a tricky southpaw. Herelies on his excellent footwork to get in position to utilize his left hand from various angles. As a cruiserweight, he is the ideal person to mimic the Ukrainian’s style. But after just five rounds, Opetaia was sent away from the camp. Reporter Ben Damon, from Fox Sports, claimed Opetaia only did five rounds. This was because of the ‘lack of orthodox sparring in Fury’s camp’.
Opetaia Vs. Fury
“Jai Opetaia did five rounds of sparring with Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia but with a lack of orthodox sparring in Fury’s camp Opetaia has now returned to Australia to continue his own preparations for the planned Mairis Briedis rematch,” Damon said
Speculation then emerged that Opetaia knocked Fury out, which is why he was sent home. The Australian’s co-promoters have now addressed the controversy, dismissing that this was the case.
“Jai Opetaia has recently returned from Saudi Arabia, where he sparred and trained with Tyson Fury. They were fantastic, competitive rounds and an incredible experience for Jai. However, any talk of either boxer being dropped is not true. Jai is now back in Australia finalising his preparation to defend his [Ring] title and cannot wait to do so in Saudi Arabia,” Tasman Fighters stated
Opetaia was looking to make an impression in the Fury camp. He spoke about how he aspires to face Usyk later down the line, which is why the sparring with Fury would prove beneficial. It gives the Australian an insight into what it would take to overcome the Ukrainian.
That will also aid him in his upcoming fight. He is set to feature on the Fury-Usyk card against Mairis Briedis in their second bout. The Ring Magazine belt will be on the line, and the vacant IBF Cruiserweight Title could also be up for grabs. Given there is so much on the line, it was understandable that Opetaia wanted to make a name for himself on the card.
“I feel like he [Fury] uses his strengths very well and that’s why he’s heavyweight champion of the world. They’ve reached out [for sparring]. They want me in there for sparring with them for Usyk, which I’m excited to be a part of. I’m excited to mix it up with the big boys and I’m also excited to show them who I am. That’s what I do. I go and I earn respect. And I’m excited for them to leave that camp and be like, ‘F**k, he is good,” Opetaia revealed
Is It True?
Sparring stories have to be taken with a pinch of salt, with fighters either exaggerating what happened or leaking things intentionally to create a particular narrative. But if Fury was knocked down, lessons would have to be learned, given the similar style that Usyk has at his disposal. Another win makes Opetaia a fighter in demand, and if he is performing against top-level names like Fury in sparring, that will only increase his standing.
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