Opetaia Will Continue Fighting In Saudi; Wants A Fight With Bivol
Jai Opetaia is expected to continue his career in Saudi Arabia following his impressive performance on ‘The Day of Reckoning’ card.
Coming into the fight, Opetaia could have had better preparation. His IBF title was stripped after he failed to defend against his mandatory Mairis Briedis. The Australian chose to take the Saudi fight instead against Ellis Zorro since it was an opportunity to get exposure on the biggest stage.
The decision to strip him was controversial, especially since Briedis was happy for Opetaia to fight in Saudi Arabia first. The decision has left him with only the Ring Magazine belt, but looking ahead, Opetaia made the right decision. He stopped Zorro in the first round to boost his credentials as the best cruiserweight in the world. The win has earned him the right to continue fighting in Saudi.
“His next fight will be in Saudi that’s for sure. Jai further stamped himself as the best Cruiserweight in the world. Zorro was undefeated heading into the fight and for Jai to dispatch him in under a round just emphasizes his ability. The sky truly is the limit for Jai Opetaia. He is easily Australia’s most talented boxer,” Matt Clarke (Opetaia’s manager)
This naturally begs the question: Who could he face? Well, the Australian has expressed his desire to fight Dmitry Bivol. The latter is the current WBA light heavyweight champion, who also impressed on the Saudi card. He dominated Lyndon Arthur to defend his title for the 11th time and pick up the IBO belt.
That puts Bivol in line to face the winner of Arthur Beterbiev vs Callum Smith for the right to become undisputed. But moving ahead, Bivol has not ruled out moving up to cruiserweight. His attempts at fighting at 168 for Canelo Alvarez’s belts failed so that Opetaia could be an option. By the looks of it, Opetaia has had discussions with Bivol.
Opetaia On Bivol
“[I want] Bivol. I got a lot of respect for Bivol. He’s probably one of my favorite fighters at the moment. We actually went out to dinner the other night and he said he wanted to see that fight with me and him further down the track. That’s a fight I would love to have. The best of the cruiserweights vs. the best of the light heavies,” Opetaia
Those comments were backed up by Bivol, who suggested that the Saudis are also intent on making that fight. That would only happen once the undisputed fight at light heavyweight is done. So far, Bivol has not shied away from a challenge. He beat Canelo and then dethroned the undefeated Zurdo Ramirez to give the latter his first loss. When asked about the fight, this is what Bivol had to say.
“Turki Alalshikh asked me ‘Let’s make (the) fight against Opetaia. To be honest, I told him I want to do everything in my weight division and then..maybe I will move up. I’m focusing on my weight division,” Bivol stated
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