Beterbiev – Bivol Winner vs. Jai Opetaia in Grand Cruiserweight Fight Possible in 2024 in Saudi Arabia

By Will Arons - 01/17/2024 - Comments

His Excellency Turki Alalshikh has big plans for the winner of this summer’s undisputed contest between IBF/WBC/WBO light heavyweight champion Artur Beterbiev and WBA champ Dmitry BIvol, wanting to match the victory against Ring cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia in 2024.

Whoever has their hand raised from the Beterbiev-Bivol fight in June or July could then meet Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs), who may have regained his IBF cruiserweight title by then after his rematch with Mairis Briedis on February 17th for the vacant belt.

Weight Class Concerns

For Alalshikh’s plans to play out, the Beterbiev-Bivol winner will need to agree to go up to cruiserweight [200 lbs] to face the considerably bigger & stronger Opetaia, who would have a big size advantage over either of them. Light heavyweight is 175, so we’re talking about 25 lbs of mass.

It’s unclear what weight Opetaia rehydrates to for his fights at cruiserweight, but it wouldn’t be a shock if it were around 215 lbs. If Beterbiev rehydrates to 190 lbs, he’d still be giving away 25 lbs to Opetaia, but he’d made up for it with his superior skills and inside game.

Opetaia isn’t the best inside fighter, and his opposition has been limited during his pro career. He’s not faced anyone like Beterbiev, and he had a hard time beating the 37-year-old Briedis in 2022.

If Beterbiev gets inside on Opetaia, he could chop him down like he did against the 6’3″ Callum Smith last weekend and how he defeated Marcus Browne.

The power that Beterbiev generates in close would be a nightmare for Opetaia, who bounces around on the outside, throwing single power shots. He doesn’t throw combinations, and he’s helpless on the inside. Opetaia’s opposition, which he’s been facing throughout most of his career in Australia, hasn’t been stellar.

“The result of Beterbiev-Bivol play against [cruiserweight] Opetaia, and the fans want to see this fight,” said His Excellency Turki Alalshikh to DAZN Boxing. “I want fighters. Why is it not Saudi Arabia? The map is changing.”

“Please, we don’t want any YouTuber fights again. I want fighters; this is what I support. For me, inside my heart, I want the fighters,” said His Excellency Turki Alalshikh.

Jake Paul and KSI will probably be disappointed to learn the news of the Saudis not wanting YouTuber Boxing in their country, but oh well.

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