- Jai Opetaia is expected to return to Saudi Arabia
- The Australian brutally knocked out his rival
- More lucrative bouts are on the horizon
Jai Opetaia stamped himself as one of the best cruiserweights in the world on Saturday night, and the Australian could well make Saudi Arabia his boxing home after a very strong debut in the Middle East.
But the Australian ensured he was not merely a supporting cast member on one of the biggest boxing nights of the year, with his explosive first round knockout win over Ellis Zorro quickly going viral on social media.
The devastating nature of Opetaia’s win surely puts him in a favourable position among the wealthy Saudi backers and speaking exclusively to Daily Mail Australia, Director of Boxing for Opetaia’s management company Matt Clarke expects their man to return to Saudi in the near future.
‘His next fight will be in Saudi that’s for sure,’ he said of Opetaia, who is already on his way back home to Australia for Christmas.
Jai Opetaia is expected to return to Saudi Arabia for his next fight
Opetaia wowed on a stacked card after knocking out Ellis Zorro inside one round
‘Jai further stamped himself as the best Cruiserweight in the world,’ he added. ‘Zorro was undefeated heading into the fight and for Jai to dispatch him in under a round just emphasises his ability.
‘The sky truly is the limit for Jai Opetaia. He is easily Australia’s most talented boxer.’
Opetaia could be set for a quick turnaround, with close friend Tyson Fury taking on Oleksandr Usyk in Saudi Arabia in February 2024.
Speaking to TNT after the fight, the Australian said of his opponent: ‘He was too hesitant and he got clipped. That’s just how it goes.’
Opetaia – the unbeaten cruiserweight – had sought an exemption for a voluntary defence against Englishman Zorro in a reported pay day of $680,000 (£535,000), but was forced to give up his belt, as the IBF wanted him to face Latvian mandatory challenger Mairis Briedis next.
His manager expects him to return to Saudi Arabia in the near future
Briedis, who is currently injured and hasn’t fought since he was beaten by Opetaia in July 2022, even gave Opetaia permission to fight Zorro first, but it was not allowed.
Opetaia felt that he could not turn down the opportunity of a big payday, following weeks of negotiations about a compromise between his manager Mick Francis and the IBF.
Saturday’s victory was Opetaia’s 19th KO win, with five wins coming via a decision.