"It's war": Opetaia

By Shalveen Chand 15 May 2024, 7:00PM

It is going to be nothing short of a war when the bell goes off for the first round of the fight between Samoan boxing pride Jai Opetaia and Latvian Mairis Briedis.

It is a rematch most have been anticipating and everyone will get their wish as the two touch gloves in Riyadh on Sunday.

They fought in Australia in July 2022, with Opetaia winning a hard-fought battle over 12 rounds to claim the IBF title, while suffering a broken jaw in the process in a gruelling encounter.

Opetaia is now 24-0 (19 KOs) but was stripped of the title for electing to face Ellis Zorro instead of fighting Briedis, after rematch negotiations had stalled.

Briedis has not fought since their first bout.

“I’m feeling good, ready to put on a good show,” said Opetaia during his pre-match interview in Riyadh after his arrival.

Opetaia delivered a first-round KO of Zorro in Saudi Arabia in December.

“I feel like he’s going to come out swinging and we’re ready for anything he brings. I don’t know how it ends yet, but it ends with my hand raised,” he said.

“It’s awesome to be part of one of the biggest fight nights of this decade,” he added, referring to the heavyweight unification fight between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk.

“I’m honored to be here and we’re ready to put on a good show. I’ve no doubt Briedis has prepared well, so I’m expecting a war.”

Briedis also has an enigmatic record (28-2, 20 KOs). He arguably gave bill-topper Usyk his toughest fight in the pros, losing a majority decision for the unified cruiserweight title back in January 2018.

“I hope all the boxing fans enjoy this fight, of course. We’re the best and we will show a very big drama,” quoted Boxing Scene.

Briedis said he was excited, enjoyed being in warm countries and concluded: “I think the winner will be who is stronger, like always.”

Meanwhile, there is no confirmation yet if the fight will be televised live on any of the free to air channels in Samoa.

TV3 who broadcasted the last fight said they were attempting to get the fight, however, TV3 is now streaming online.

By Shalveen Chand 15 May 2024, 7:00PM
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