Home Boxing News Jai Opetaia to face Trent Broadhurst ahead of Mairis Briedis clash

Jai Opetaia to face Trent Broadhurst ahead of Mairis Briedis clash

Jai Opetaia. Photo credit: Getty Images

Undefeated Australian cruiserweight Jai Opetaia 20-0 (16) will face countryman Trent Broadhurst 22-4 (14) at Fortitude Music Hall in Brisbane, Australia on December 4 ahead of a world title challenger to IBF champion Mairis Briedis 28-1 (20) early next year.

The 26-year-old southpaw will be having just his second fight in two years after the global coronavirus pandemic and hand surgery put his career on hold.

Opetaia dominated hard-nosed former world title challenger Mark ‘Bam Bam’ Flanagan 25-8 (18) in November 2019, stopping him in eight frames. He did not lose a round.

Last October he stopped Ben Kelleher 15-3-2 (4) in six rounds in their rematch.

Earlier this month the IBF ordered Briedis to face Opetaia no later than April 14, but negotiations are already underway for the fight to happen in late January or early February.

The 36-year-old Latvian defended his title against Arthur Mann 17-2 (9) on October 16, stopping the German in three one-sided rounds.

Opetaia’s manager Michael Francis said it was critical for Opetaia to shake off the rust ahead of his world title bid.

“He’s been out of the ring for 12 months and Briedis has had his warm-up and defended his world title,” Francis told AAP.

“Jai doesn’t want to go in rusty. He needs to blow off the cobwebs and get out there and fight.

“In every fight you worry, but it’s a risk we need to take. In that division you’re only one punch away but I think Jai is a little bit too smart to get into a brawl.

“He’ll get a lot out of it. Trent’s a good fighter; he’s no easybeat but we would hope Jai would put him away within four or five rounds.”

With Broadhurst having lost three of his past five fights and not been in the ring for almost two years, the Queenslander appears a relatively low-risk opponent for Opetaia.

Meanwhile, discussions are underway to bring the Briedis fight to Australia.

“This is what I’ve been working towards for my whole life, I’m finally going to tick the box,” Opetaia said to Fox Sports when the IBF ruling was announced.

“People are excited about getting a world title shot. But I’m going in there to win, not just participate. I’m bringing the belt home.

“Hopefully that fight can happen in Sydney, with the Covid stuff going on, the closer to home the better.”

Francis is working hard to give Opetaia the opportunity to fight for his first world title in his own backyard.

“We’re doing our best to bring it to either Sydney or the Gold Coast on February 4,” he said.

“Jai will fight on December 4 and then on February 4. We’re working very hard to bring it here.

“They’re interested in coming here. It just depends on making the fight make sense financially.”