- Jai Opetaia sparred Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia before returning to Australia
- Rumours had suggested that Opetaia dropped the British boxer in sparring
- However, promoter Eddie Hearn has come forward to address the rumours
Eddie Hearn has addressed claims that Australian cruiserweight Jai Opetaia dropped Tyson Fury during their sparring session last month.
Opetaia – who will face Mairis Briedis for a second time on the Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk undercard – linked up with the Gypsy King during his camp in Saudi Arabia.
The 28-year-old joined Fury in Riyadh ahead of their respective fights on February 17 but only sparred five rounds before heading back to Australia.
It emerged that Opetaia made the decision to leave Saudi Arabia as there was a lack of orthodox sparring available in Fury’s camp.
However, rumours surrounding Opetaia’s departure began to circulate on social media – with many stating the Australian had dropped Fury in sparring.
Reports claimed Jai Opetaia (L) had dropped Tyson Fury (R) during a recent sparring session
However, Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn came forward to deny the claims
British boxing legend Johnny Nelson recently came out to claim that Fury had been ‘getting turned over in the gym’ but Hearn has come forward to deny those.
He told talkSPORT: ‘I saw the piece yesterday with Johnny Nelson and Spencer Oliver.
‘Johnny Nelson was adamant that Fury had been dropped in sparring by Jai Opetaia.
‘Jai Opetaia is with Matchroom, he’s a tremendous fighter. As far as I can see, it’s absolute rubbish.
‘Jai Opetaia flew in, he did five rounds with Tyson Fury. I mean, he will set about him as he always does, but as I understand it nobody got hurt or dropped in the spar.
‘So I think it’s absolute rubbish, sparring stories are sparring stories. As I understand it, Fury’s having a great camp and I think he’s taking it very seriously.’
Similarly, last month, Opetaia’s co-promoters – Tasman Fighters – took to social media to set the record straight and deny the 28-year-old floored Fury in training.
His team wrote the following: ‘Jai Opetaia has recently returned from Saudi Arabia where he sparred and trained with Tyson Fury.
Opetaia – who will face Mairis Briedis for a second time on the Fury vs Oleksandr Usyk undercard – joined Fury’s training camp but left after just five rounds of sparring
Opetaia’s co-promoters also released a statement, last month, denying claims the Australian cruiserweight dropped Fury in sparring
‘They were fantastic, competitive rounds and an incredible experience for Jai. However any talk of either boxer being dropped [in sparring] is not true.
‘Jai is now back in Australia finalising his preparation to defend his [Ring] title [against Mairis Briedis] and cannot wait to do so in Saudi Arabia.’
Opetaia’s bout with Briedis comes less than two months after his December 23 first-round knockout of Ellis Zorro on the ‘Day Of Reckoning’ undercard.
Opetaia beat Briedis during their first bout, outpointing the three-time cruiserweight champion over twelve rounds in July 2022.