Home Boxing News Cruiserweight King Jai Opetaia to defend in London

Cruiserweight King Jai Opetaia to defend in London

Jai Opetaia will make the first defence of his IBF and Ring Magazine Cruiserweight World Titles against Jordan Thompson on a huge night of World Championship boxing at the OVO Arena Wembley on Saturday September 30 that also sees IBF Super-Bantamweight ruler Ellie Scotney make the maiden defence of her World Title against Laura Soledad Griffa, live worldwide on DAZN (excluding Australia and New Zealand).

Opetaia (22-0 17 KOs) wrestled the IBF and Ring Magazine World Cruiserweight Titles away from Mairis Briedis on home turf with an outstanding display in Queensland, Australia in July 2022, outboxing the Latvian with a show of skill mixed with guts after breaking his jaw in both the second and final rounds.

The 28-year-old extended his unbeaten slate to 22 fights in the paid ranks on that famous night, landing World Title honours at the first attempt in a professional career that began in August 2015 after the imposing southpaw said goodbye to a glittering amateur stint that yielded gold in the World Junior Championships in 2011 and saw him become the youngest ever Australian Olympian fighter when he represented his country in at the 2012 Games in London.

He returns to London next month, putting his red and gold hardware on the line against Manchester’s undefeated contender Thompson (15-0, 12 KOs), who heads into his first shot at world honours on the back of a dominating sixth-round TKO win over Swindon’s Luke Watkins at the Cardiff International Arena back in Cardiff.

The 6′ 7″ powerhouse, who is trained by Tony Sims at the Matchroom Boxing Elite Gym in Essex, has won all five of his fights under the Matchroom Boxing banner since putting pen to paper on a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn in June 2021, picking up the IBF European Title but outpointing Vasil Ducar at the Sheffield Arena in August 2022.

Catford’s 122lbs queen Scotney (7-0) returns to the arena where she was crowned IBF World Champion in June, comfortably outpointing Australia’s former champion Cherneka Johnson on the undercard of Sunny Edwards’ shutout points win over Andres Campos.

Argentina’s Griffa (20-8, 1 KO) gets her second shot at the IBF Super-Bantamweight after falling short in her challenge against Marcela Eliana Acuna in August 2018. ‘La Joya’, who fights out of Pehuajo in Buenos Aires, has also challenged for the IBO Super-Bantamweight and Featherweight Titles and has won both of her fights in 2023.

Dangerous Gravesend Cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke (6-0, 5 KOs) gets his first title shot – taking on former Chris Billam-Smith and Jordan Thompson opponent Vasil Ducar (14-6-2, 10 KOs) for the vacant IBF International Title and Warrington’s Rhiannon Dixon (8-0, 1 KO) meets Norway’s World Title challenger Katherina Thanderz (16-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant EBU European Lightweight crown.

Billericay Middleweight George Liddard (4-0, 3 KOs) and Eltham Flyweight Maiseyrose Courtney (4-0) have a quick turnaround after picking up wins on the Joshua vs. Helenius undercard at The O2 in London earlier this month, Watford Super-Flyweight Shannon Ryan (5-0) fights for the sixth time as a pro and Tony Sims-trained Middleweight Jimmy Sains makes his professional debut.

“I have been waiting too long for someone to challenge me and now we finally have a fight,” said Opetaia. “Thank you Jordan for stepping up but I hope you are ready!”

“Opetaia is the recognised number one in the division and the best guy out there and that’s why he’s the one I want,” said Thompson. “This is my time now and the world will see that on September 30th. I ain’t never been one to just take part, I’m a winner, I’m going to win.

“Winning a World Title is every fighter’s dream but now I want more,” said Scotney. “I want to prove myself the best Super-Bantamweight in the world, but a true champion also has to be willing to defend her title. I wanted to stay active and getting to defend the belt in the same venue I was crowned World Champion gives me the ideal opportunity to show that there are levels to this sport On September 30 I will show just that.”

“I am very excited to be fighting for the World Title for a second time,” said Griffa. “Ellie Scotney is a very good and skilful boxer, but she doesn’t have the heart and toughness that I do. I am a true warrior and will bring war to London September. I will break her down bring the World Title back home to Argentina.”

“A huge World Title double-header at the OVO Arena Wembley on September 30 topped by IBF Cruiserweight king Jai Opetaia defending his crown against Manchester’s Jordan Thompson and Catford’s Ellie Scotney putting her IBF Super-Bantamweight crown on the line against Laura Soledad Griffa,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “Jai’s win over Briedis was an historic moment for Australian boxing and solidified him as the number one in the Cruiserweight division. Jordan is showing huge courage by bypassing the domestic scene and jumping in with the best in his division for a shot at glory – he should get massive credit for grabbing this opportunity with both hands when others have avoided it.

“Ellie has plans on unifying the Super-Bantamweight division and becoming a multi-weight World Champion but first she must get her first World Title defence under her belt. There’s plenty more title action on the undercard as Cruiserweight powerhouse Chev Clarke goes for the IBF International Title against the tricky Vasil Ducar and Anthony Crolla’s charge Rhiannon Dixon meets former Terri Harper opponent Katherina Thanderz for the EBU European Lightweight Title. Watch all of the action live worldwide on DAZN.”

“It’s great to have Jai debut on DAZN on September 30 in London,” said Alfie Sharman VP, DAZN. “Jai is one of the best in the division and with Jordan being tipped for a big future in the sport, this is going to be a cracker. Watch it live and exclusive on DAZN.”

Ticket information will be announced soon.