While Jai Opetaia is relatively unknown on the international scene, hopefully that is all about to change as his manager Michael Francis today announced that an official challenge has been lodged with the Commonwealth Boxing Council for Opetaia to challenge current Champion Luke Watkins.
Jai had an excellent amateur career that saw him win the Junior World title in 2011 (Kazakhstan)
and went on to qualify for the 2012 Olympics.
Since turning professional he has held the NSW State and Australian titles and gone onto secure the OPBF and IBF World Youth titles. In his last two outings he has faced two opponents who were both undefeated in nine fights. He secured the IBF World Youth title in devastating style against American Frankie Lopez, stopping him after the 2.55 mark of the opening round. Lopez who is trained by former Light Heavyweight great Virgil Hill had no answer to the speed and power of the rugged southpaw Opetaia.
According to Michael Francis, Luke Watkins would make for a good test for Jai as they have similar vital stats and a fight between the two would prove to be Jai’s biggest step up in his career to date.
Francis said: “We would be happy to play host to what would undoubtedly be an exciting fight where someone’s ‘0’ is going to go, or alternatively we would be happy to travel to the UK to the champions backyard. Jai is ready to step up and while ‘The Duke’ Luke Watkins is our immediate focus, we have a number of top 15 rated opponents on our radar. In Australia the Commonwealth title is recognized as one of the most prestigious and most established titles to secure and we see that as a move in the right direction for Jai”.