Opetaia eyes fight with Tyson Fury
Samoan-Australian boxer, Jai Opetaia, is moving up from cruiserweight to the heavyweight division next year, and has already locked in his first opponent,Tyson Fury.
His fight with the 'Gypsy King' is likely to come in the next 12-18 months, with next July looking the most probable date.
Opetaia's Manager, Michael Francis, of Tasman Fight, told the Samoa Observer during an interview that the 24-year-old is about three or four shots off a world title shot in the cruiserweight division, after which he can move up.
It will be a massive step up for the 24-year-old to take on Fury, who is the current W.B.C. world champion, and Opetaia is understandably excited by the prospect.
“Fighting the best heavyweight in our era would be an awesome opportunity…, it’d be crazy," the boxer with roots in Lalomanu and Apia said.
He said he has a lot of training and developing to do before moving into the heavyweights, which has been the plan for his career for some time.
“It’s always been something that I’ve had as a goal, we wanna win a world title in the cruiserweight division first," Opetaia said.
Francis said Fury's manager, Bob Arum, of Top Rank has confirmed the bout.
“Obviously [Fury]’s got a few fights to get out of the way first," he said.
"He’s got the rematch coming up with Deontay Wilder, and then he’ll probably fight after that Anthony Joshua, and then we’re looking beyond that. So hopefully he still has the belts."
Opetaia himself has a bout coming up against Youri Kalenga at the Hordern Pavilion in Sydney on the 21st of March.
“I feel good, training’s been real hard, I’ve been pushing myself to the limit," he said.
Opetaia is heading to Melbourne next week for some sparring ahead of the fight:
“Just finding that decent right-hand sparring, because this guy’s sort of a come-forward fighter, he’s got a big right hand."
The prospect of fighting Fury down the line doesn't change much for Opetaia right now, and he's not getting carried away in thinking about the future:
“The main thing is, all I’ve gotta do is keep training hard, keep fit and just keep winning. As long as I keep winning, keep winning my fights, the rest will all fall into place, my rankings will go up."