Last night, in London, IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetai had absolutely no trouble making a successful first title defence, the southpaw from Australia taking out an out of his depth Jordan Thompson in the fourth round of a one-sided fight. Opetai bloodied Manchester-born Londoner Thompson’s nose and he dropped him in the third, and then the 28 year old champ finished things in round four. Dropping the previously unbeaten Thompson for the second time, Opetaia got the win as the referee had seen enough, the third man diving in as “Troublesome” pitched forward.
Time was 0:20 of the fourth. Opetaia is now 23-0(18). 30 year old Thompson is now 15-1(12).
Opetaia, who won the IBF belt with a hard battle with Mairis Briedis back in July of last year, the warrior from Sydney suffering a busted jaw in the fight, was in total command last night. Hurting his challenger at the end of the opening session when he stunned Thompson with a flurry, Opetaia wanted the quick, statement-making win. And he got it.
Thompson just couldn’t cope with Opetaia’s speed and movement, to say nothing of his punching power and accuracy. Thompson’s best moment probably came in the third, when he landed a good right hand on the champ. This only served to anger Opetaia, who fired back in kind, scoring the first knockdown of the fight. Thompson, bleeding from the nose, beat the count but he then went into a veritable shell, seemingly fearful of taking any more hard shots.
Opetaia wasn’t in any mood to allow Thompson to survive, and he came out landing hefty blows in the fourth. A left hand to the head sent Thompson reeling, and the follow-up left/right had Thompson pitching forward, the referee deciding he had seen enough.
The big problem Opetaia may face, is getting big fights. Prior to last night’s win, Opetaia and his team had hoped to fight either Briedis in a rematch, or Mateusz Masternak, or the unbeaten Richard Riakporhe. But Briedis declined due to illness, while both Masternak and Riakporhe withdrew before scheduled purse bids.
It could be former champ Briedis next for Opetaia, but the IBF ruler wants to unify the division.
“I’ve been saying at all press conferences, I’ve come here to earn respect, not disrespect,” a victorious Opetaia said. “Chris Billam-Smith, I’d love to make that fight happen. I want that WBO [belt] around my waist.”
Billam-Smith, Badou Jack, Yuniel Dorticos, Arsen Goulamirian, Riakporhe, Masternak – Opetaia wold fight them all. But will they fight him?
Former WBC cruiserweight champ Tony Bellew, doing commentary for DAZN last night, had the following to say about Opetaia:
“There’s not a cruiserweight in the world who can touch him,” Bomber said. Maybe there isn’t.