Home Boxing News Mairis Briedis looks forward to Lawrence Okolie unification bout, but Jai Opetaia...

Mairis Briedis looks forward to Lawrence Okolie unification bout, but Jai Opetaia might come first

Mairis Briedis (right) defeated Artur Mann by third-round knockout. Photo credit: Mikus Klavins/ Wasserman Boxing

IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis 28-1 (20) has many options on the table after knocking out German challenger Arthur Mann 17-2 (9) in three lopsided rounds at Arena Riga in Riga, Latvia on Saturday night.

The 36-year-old Latvian was at his aggressive best against Mann, dropping the challenger with a right hand to the head in the second round before flooring the 31-year-old twice in the following round to walk away with the victory at the 2:59 mark.

Before the fight Briedis said he was looking to unify with the division with WBO counterpart Lawrence ‘The Sauce’ Okolie 17-0 (14) his first target.

Also waiting in the wings is Jai Opetaia 20-0 (16). Last week the IBF ruled that Briedis must face the undefeated Australian southpaw by mid-April next year.

Briedis’ promoter Kalle Sauerland says he is open to all options.

“That was a great performance by Mairis,” Sauerland said after Briedis knocked out Mann on Saturday night. “Tonight, he showed once again why he is the man to beat at 200-pounds.

“There are a lot of big fights out there for him. A unification with Lawrence Okolie, a mandatory defence against Jai Opetaia or a move up to heavyweight.

“Mairis has already proven he is the number one in the division and now it’s about securing legacy defining fights. 2022 is going to be a massive year for him.”

Briedis said after the bout: “My opponent was not easy. We prepared very well for this fight and invested a lot of time and work. I am happy to defend my titles and I look forward to collecting more belts soon.”

Southpaw Opetaia is champing at the bit to get his gloves on Briedis.

“I’m so happy we finally got it over the line and now we get to talk about it and start promoting the fight,” the 26 year-old Opetaia said to Main Event Boxing Podcast.

“I’ve been looking forward to these sort of fights for a long time, so I’m over the moon with this shit.

“I will shock him. I think he is looking past me and looking at unifying with Lawrence from England.

“I shock everyone anyways – they all say they are going to take me to deep waters, they all say they are going to walk through me and come forward. As soon as they start feeling a few left hands, they really underestimate my power.

“I know he is a good fighter and he is tough, so we’re really going to prepare to do whatever we can do to win that fight.”

With big financial backing in his home country, there is a very real chance the Briedis-Opetaia fight could land in Australia.

“I’m not looking at it as an advantage (fighting in Australia) – I feel like wherever I have the fight, I am bringing that world title home,” Opetaia said.

“It’s something I have always wanted to do as a little kid, bring a world title here and fight in front of my country.”