By Ray Wheatley – World of Boxing
Undefeated IBF #3 cruiserweight Jai Opetaia (22-0, 17 KOs) captured the IBF cruiserweight championship from Maris Breidis (29-2, 20 KOs) with a comprehensive twelve round unanimous decision. Opetaia, who suffered a broken jaw during the bout, won by scores of 116-112, 115-113, 116-112 on Saturday at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Queensland, Australia televised on Foxtel Main Event and Kayo Sports Pay-Per-View and ESPN+ in the USA.
Opetaia boxing from the southpaw stance and using good mobility scored with effective jabs. Breidis was aggressive and connected with head and body shots. Breidis suffered a cut over the right eye in round one. Opetaia stepped up a gear in round four and connected with solid uppercuts that hurt the champion. Breidis having trouble connecting against the fleet-footed challenger. The Australian was the aggressor in round six as the champion was holding on.
Breidis had good moments in round seven landing solid head shots but Opetaia responded with accurate combinations. Breidis was bleeding profusely. Opetaia and Breidis both connected with solid punches in round nine but the challenger looked fresher. Breidis landed bombs on Opetaia in round ten, but the Aussie remains on the balls of his feet as he weathered the storm.
Breidis desperately attacked in the championship rounds. He and Opetaia swapped power shots in round eleven and in round twelve both champion and challenger were visibly tired but throwing bombs at the final bell.