Home Boxing News Jai Opetaia targeted by Tyson Fury

Jai Opetaia targeted by Tyson Fury

Jai Opetaia. Photo credit: The Sporting News

Undefeated IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia 23-0 (18) has been contacted by the team behind WBC heavyweight boss Tyson Fury 33-0-1 (24) about joining their camp for the proposed bout against WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight kingpin Oleksandr Usyk 21-0 (14).

Late last month it was announced that Britain’s Fury, 35, would face the 36-year-old Ukrainian southpaw in Saudi Arabia in the coming months on a date to be determined.

But Fury must first get past boxing debutant and former UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou in Saudi Arabia on October 30. The result is seen as a foregone conclusion.

Opetaia would be a good choice of sparring partner for Fury. With his movement, angles and left-handed stance, he will be able to imitate the style of the former undisputed cruiserweight champion as well as anyone.

The 28-year-old Australian southpaw is fresh off his four round drubbing of six-foot-six Brit Jordan ‘Troublesome’ Thompson 15-1 (12) at London’s Wembley Arena on the last Saturday of September. Opetaia took the fight to Thompson from the opening bell, bloddying his nose in the second, dropping him in the third and finishing him off early in the fourth.

That performance was enough for Team Fury to sit up and take notice.

“Yeah they did reach out,” Opetaia told Matchroom Boxing. “And I feel like it’s smart of them to reach out, you know what I mean?

“I am a good, perfect style for [imitating] Usyk. We’re almost the same height, I think there’s only an inch difference, and just the feet movement and stuff like that, the work rate, I would be able to mimic his style.

“I’m going there to help him but at the same time I’m going there to earn respect again. You know what I mean? Like everyone in the gym, I want them to know my name by the time I leave there.”

Earlier this year Opetaia was tabbed to spar Fury when negotiations were underway for the self-styled Gypsy King to face Usyk in late April before those talks fell apart.

“Tyson Fury reached out. He messaged coach,” Opetaia told Boxing King Media. “We spoke about it before. I was supposed to go out there but the fight got cancelled. That will be a crazy experience, I look forward to doing stuff like that.”

But not everyone is convinced Opetaia is the right guy to prepare Fury.

Retired former WBC cruiserweight champion turned pundit Tony Bellew thinks there are better options out there.

In a recent social media post, Bellew wrote: “Style wise the only thing they have in common is the southpaw stance mate, Jai is a fighter who is happy to take one to give one whereas Usyk is a fighter who plays I hit you and you don’t hit me.

“Tyson knows the ideal sparring partner as he put me on him! Didn’t help me like.”