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Jai Opetaia To Finally Defend IBF and The Ring Titles On September 30

Jai Opetaia To Finally Defend IBF and The Ring Titles On September 30 featured image
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 22: Jai Opetaia celebrates winning against Ben Kelleher during their Cruiserweight bout between Jai Opetaia and Ben Kelleher at The Fortitude Music Hall on October 22, 2020 in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Australian world and lineal champion Jai Opetaia has finally found an opponent to face on September 30 after being out of the ring for more than a year. Jordan Thompson, an unbeaten British contender at cruiserweight, will face Opetaia on September 30th at the Wembley Arena in London.

Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17 KO’s), 28, will undoubtedly face some ring rust when he fights Jordan Thompson (15-0, 12 KO’s) in the first title defense of his IBF cruiserweight title. Opetaia’s last match occurred on July 2nd, 2022, when he defeated then-reigning IBF and The Ring champion Mairis Briedis by unanimous decision, taking both his titles in the process.

Those titles will now be up for contention on September 30th against Jordan Thompson, a rather unknown quantity in the division. Currently ranked #5 on the IBF’s list of best-rated cruiserweights, Thompson is unbeaten.

The 30-year-old Brit has had a rather weak resume until he seemingly stepped up in his last two fights, managing to stop rising fellow British contender Luke Watkins (16-3, 11 KO’s) in his last match on April 4th this year. His win over Vasil Ducar (14-6-2, 10 KO’s), a Czech contender, on August 6th, 2022, also helped Thompson establish himself as an above-average cruiserweight, at the very least.

The upcoming title match between these two unbeaten fighters may yet become one of the best and underrated matches of the year, given Jordan Thompson will head into the match in form and fit, given his activity over the past year, while Jai Opetaia will need to combat both his ring rust and his opponent to ensure he can retain his newly-won titles.

The venue of Wembley Arena will further provide an interesting aspect to the fight, given Jordan Thompson will be fighting in his home city of London where he is currently said to reside. Jai Opetaia might be facing an additional challenge in the hometown crowd, who will most likely be rooting for Jordan Thompson.