Australian boxing gun Jai Opetaia’s world title against IBF cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis has been locked in but will be delayed by “three or four weeks”.
The reigning champ Briedis had previously been trying to catch the attention of YouTube star-turned boxer Jake Paul in the hope of catching a multimillion-dollar payday, going as far as getting a tattoo with Paul’s name on his thigh.
The fight, which was touted to be on April 6, was set to be officially announced at a press conference on Wednesday on the Gold Coast.
But it has been delayed after Briedis contracted Covid-19.
The fight will take place on the Gold Coast, but has yet to be officially set in stone given Briedis’ illness.
Speaking via a pre-recorded message from Latvia, 37-year-old Briedis said age would not be an issue.
“I feel much more confident in my abilities and I feel like I’m 25,” he said. “I’ll come to Australia to show my best.”
Opetaia said the “fact he’s talking about his age means he’s worried about it”.
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Briedis spoke about the venomous snakes and spiders in Australia.
Opetaia, however, said he only needed to worry about his opponent.
The bout will also be the first world title fight held in Australia since 2017, when Jeff Horn defended his WBO welterweight crown against Gary Corcoran via TKO.
Opetaia has been out of action since his last fight in October 2020, as the 26-year-old got surgery to fix a broken hand having fought with the injury for five years.
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The southpaw from the Central Coast holds an impressive record of 20-0, with 16 of those victories arriving via a KO/TKO finish.
He also has the honor of being Australia’s youngest boxer to have gone to the Olympics, as he was just 16 years of age when he competed at the London Games in 2012.
However, Briedis will undoubtedly represent the biggest task of his career, with the 37-year-old also holding an impressive 28-1 record.
Also featuring on the card will be Australian heavyweight champion Justis Huni, who is fighting for the first time since he defeated rugby league great Paul Gallen in June last year.
Huni was set to compete in the Tokyo Olympics, however he was forced to withdraw as he needed surgery to fix a broken hand, an injury he aggravated during the Gallen fight having suffered it before in his bout against Christian Tsoye only a month earlier.