Home Boxing News Jai Opetaia furious after Mateusz Masternak withdraws from purse bid at last...

Jai Opetaia furious after Mateusz Masternak withdraws from purse bid at last minute

Jai Opetaia. Photo credit: Getty Images

IBF and Ring Mangazine cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia 22-0 (17) has hit out at Mateusz Masternak 47-5 (31) and the 36-year-old Pole withdrew from a mandated purse bid to challenge for the world title.

Masternak is the IBF number one contender.

The purse bid was slated to take place on 15 June but one day before it was due to take place, Masternak’s team advised they were going a different route. They are believed to be targeting recently crowned WBO champion Chris Billam-Smith 18-1 (12) who dethroned Lawrence Okolie 19-1 (14) in a messy 12-round affair last month.

“What a waste of time,” Opetaia said. “Masternak used to be a good fighter, now he’s a has-been. I would’ve retired him. If you don’t want the smoke, why waste the last few months talking shit?”

Opetaia’s manager Michael Francis was equally scathing.

“They’ve really done nothing but stall, duck and dive. They should be embarrassed. If they didn’t want to face Jai they could’ve told us months ago,” Francis said.

“They’re going to go a much softer route by facing Chris Billam-Smith and now we will negotiate a bout with boxer promotions about bringing Richard Riakporhe to Australia. That’s our intention and having an Aussie beat a Pom always goes down well here.”

The 27-year-old Australian southpaw has now been given one month to negotiate a fight with the next highest rated contender, Richard Riakporhe 16-0 (12) of England. The two sides have until July 14 to reach a deal.

Francis added: “Richard probably thinks all his Christmases have come at once by being gifted a world title shot, but he’s about to find out that Jai Opetaia is a different animal.”

Retired former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew agrees.

“I like Richard and he’s coming on nicely but this may be a step too far too soon!” Bellew posted to Twitter.

“Opetaia is a very good fighter who can do a lot of things well!

“I’d of [sic] targeted another champion and maybe caught this one in another 12 months? Really brave decision from Richard.”

Opetaia has not boxed since dethroning Mairis Briedis 28-2 (20). The 38-year-old Latvian broke his jaw in two places that required surgery to repair.

Adding insult to injury, Opetaia was dragged through the courts by previous promoter Dean Lonergan in a messy contract dispute. There was a clause in the contract that stated that Opetaia’s fights would be televised but D & L Promotions were unable to deliver on that promise.

The court eventually ruled in Opetaia’s favour.