Briedis Heads Down Under To Defend
World Titles Against Opetaia On May 11
Mairis Briedis (28-1, 20 KOs) will defend his IBF and Ring
Magazine World Cruiserweight Titles against undefeated
mandatory challenger Jai Opetaia (21-0, 17 KOs) on Wednesday
May 11 at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in
Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia.
Briedis captured the IBF and Ring Magazine World Titles when
defeating Yuniel Dorticos in the final of the World Boxing
Super Series in September 2020, becoming a three-time World
Champion, and cementing his position as a pound-for-pound
star and the number one Cruiserweight on the planet.
Following a successful defence of his belts against German
challenger Artur Mann in Riga in October 2021, the
37-year-old will now travel down under to face fast-rising
Australian star Opetaia on his home turf. The fight was
originally scheduled for April 6 but was pushed back after
Briedis contracted Covid.
“I look forward to coming to Australia to defend my World
Titles,” said Briedis. “I know my opponent is a good boxer.
He is a southpaw who is undefeated and who has had a very
decent amateur career. As always, I will give my all in
training camp and I will come to Australia to show my best
boxing. I hope me and Jai can put on a great boxing
spectacle for the fans.”
Sydney-born southpaw Optetai is a decorated amateur, who won
a bronze medal at the 2012 Youth World Championships and
represented Australia at the 2012 Olympics and 2014
Commonwealth Games. Following his amateur success, the
26-year-old made his professional debut in 2015 and has
earned his shot at Briedis’ Cruiserweight crown with an
impressive run of 21 victories.
“It’s a dream come true to get a shot at the World Title and
on top of that it’s happening right here on the Gold Coast
which is brilliant,” said Opetaia. “I’m a resident in
Surfers Paradise so you can’t get any more Gold Coast than
that. This is my chance to announce myself to the world. I
want to bring home another World Title to Queensland just
like Jeff Horn did.”
The fight, which will be promoted by Dean Lonergan for D and
L Events in association with Wasserman Boxing, will be the
first World Title bout to be held in Australia since Jeff
Horn defended his crown against Gary Corcoran just over five
years ago in Brisbane.
“This will be a fantastic occasion and I applaud Tourism
Events Queensland, Major Events Gold Coast and Gold Coast
Mayor Tom Tate for throwing their support behind what will
be a very special event,” said Lonergan.
“We remember that fight (Horn-Corcoran) and also that
incredible day when ‘The Hornet’ defeated Manny Pacquiao to
win the World Title at Suncorp Stadium in 2017.
“Now we are getting right behind Jai to achieve his dream
and bring home another World Title to Queensland and on his
own turf on the Gold Coast.”
Despite his Australian counterpart's optimism, Briedis’
promoter Kalle Sauerland is confident the champion will be
returning to Latvia with the belts.
“Mairis Briedis is a three-time World Champion who has
consistently fought the best boxers out there,” said
Sauerland. “He’s coming to Australia as World Champion and
will be leaving as World Champion. His knockout power is
sensational but also his technique, his prowess and his
finishing abilities. It’s time for Mairis to show once again
why he is the number one Cruiserweight on the planet.”