Boxing 2023: Jai Opetaia defeats Jordan Thompson, defends IBF cruiserweight world title to remain champion

Australian Jai Opetaia has defended his world boxing title in dominant fashion, defeating Jordan Thompson via TKO in London on Sunday morning AEST.

It had been a long time between fights for the 28-year-old after he beat Mairis Briedis in an epic battle on the Gold Coast last year to claim the IBF and Ring Magazine cruiserweight world titles.

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Opetaia shattered his jaw during that fight and after recovering from injury, plans for a rematch with Briedis were scrapped.

But the Aussie showed just why he’s arguably our best boxer at the moment, outclassing Thompson before the referee stopped the fight in the fourth round to put Thompson out of his misery.

Opetaia went on the attack early and was on another level, hitting the Brit with countless combinations that left him battered and bruised.

Boxing fans praised Opetaia for putting on an absolute clinic.

Main Event’s Ben Damon wrote on X: “Clinical brutality from @jaiopetaia1

who absolutely destroys Jordan Thompson who was hung out to dry by his corner and destroyed.

“Opetaia was already the best cruiserweight on the planet but he has gone to a whole new level.”

He barely broke a sweat and after taking his undefeated record to 23-0 (18 KOs), Opetaia will now turn his attention to claiming the other belts in the cruiserweight division.

Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn said Opetaia should be considered a “hero” in Australia.

He said: “Over the years we’ve been very lucky to bring some special fighters to this country — Gennady, Golovkin, Gervonta Davis, Artur Beterbiev.

“I think this is the guy that’s going to rule the division. I really do. I think he’s a monster. He fought a big guy tonight but he showed levels. He’s a special fighter.

“When you look at Australian boxing, this guy beat the best in the division Mairis Briedis — he should be a hero in his country. I hope people tuning in right now back home start to realise and put some respect on this guy’s name.
“You’ve got Tim Tszyu, who’s a great fighter, but this a guy that’s done it, beaten champions and I think he can go on and rule the whole division. Honestly, I think he beats every man in the division.”

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