Bilal Laggoune faces tough test against unbeaten Aussie Jai Opetaia

Anthony Cocks

Australian-based boxing journalist Anthony Cocks has been covering the sport for over 15 years for various print and online publications. He refuses to believe that Roberto Duran ever lost to Tommy Hearns and says that Jeff Fenech would destroy Chuck Norris, Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali on the same night.

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IBF number 11 ranked cruiserweight Bilal Laggoune 23-1-2 (12) will defend his IBF Intercontinental crown against dangerous Australian Jai Opetaia 16-0 (13) at the Country Hall de Liege in Liege, Belgium on October 20.

Alain Vanackere of 12 Round Promotions believes the 25-year-old Belgium native will have too much experience for the southpaw challenger.

“[Laggoune] 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 twenty-five fights,” said Vanackere.

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“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 nine rounds.

“On the other hand, this will be Bilal’s eighth twelve round fight and he has gone the distance in four 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.”

The 23-year-old Opetaia became the youngest Australian boxer to represent his country at the Olympics when he competed at the 2012 London Games in the heavyweight division as a 16-year-old. He is currently ranked number 10 by the WBO.

Michael Francis of Xtreme Sports said that his fighter Opetaia is looking forward to what promises to be the toughest test of his three-year professional career.

“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,” said Francis.

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