Samoan boxing star, Jai Opetaia’s next fight has been confirmed.
12 Round Promotion ‘Alain Vanackere’ yesterday confirmed that negotiations have been finalized for Opetaia to fight Bilal Laggoune, as the IBF Intercontinental mandatory challenger in Liege Belgium on October 20.
Bilal Laggoune 23-1 is world ranked 11 by the IBF while Jai Opetaia 16-0 is ranked 10 with the WBO.
Promoter Alain Vanackere stated that while they acknowledge the rugged Samoan will present a tough test, he is confident his charge will draw upon his superior experience to get across the line in this one.
“Bilal is tough and has fought a better level of opponents than his challenger and while he has the one loss on his record, he hasn’t been stopped in 25 fights,” he said.
“When you look closely at Jai’s record you will see that this is his first 12 round fight and the longest he has gone in his career to date is 9 rounds. On the other hand, this will be Bilal’s 8th 12 round fight and he has gone the distance in 4 of them.”
Bilal never underestimates his opponent and is confident his superior work rate and pressure he can apply will tire the young Aussie and that he can finish him off in the later rounds.
Opetaia’s promoter Michael Francis of Xtreme Sports said that his charge is looking forward to what will be his toughest test in his 16-fight career to date.
“Our team have been looking closely at Bilal Laggoune for some time now, and Jai is confident he can give a career best performance and cruise to victory’.
“He knows he has his back against the wall travelling to the Champions backyard and enters this fight the distinct underdog, however he is confident he has the skills to counter Laggoune’s style.
“Jai is a big puncher and while the plan is not to go head hunting, if the opportunity presents itself, he will be going for the knockout.”
Opetaia has a solid amateur background winning the Junior world title in Kazakhstan in 2011 and went onto become the youngest in Australian boxing history to be selected for the Olympics at the tender age of just 16.
Since turning professional he has secured the Australian title, WBO Oriental, WBC / OPBF and IBF Pan Pacific titles and won the IBF World Youth title last year with a stunning performance knocking out undefeated American Frankie Lopez in the first round.
This fight has crowd pleaser written all over it as both boxers are young and share similar vital statistics outside of Jai’s superior power. The fight will be PPV in Belgium and streamed live back to Australia via Epicentre.