In the chief support bout of the Fury-Usyk event, Australian boxer Jai Opetaia made it two for two as he defeated Mairis Briedis (28-3, 20 KOs) by way of unanimous decision, and won the vacant IBF cruiserweight world title.

Throughout the duration of the fight, the 39-year-old Mairis Briedis appeared to be a step behind. Going into this second fight against Opetaia, Briedis had to overcome two major obstacles which were inactivity and father time.

In the opening round of the IBF cruiserweight championship bout, Mairis Briedis used a lot of lateral movement, but he threw very few punches. Jai Opetaia was economical with his punches as he threw the jab and the occasional shot to the body.

Opetaia increased his punch output immediately in the second round as he landed a sharp left hand. Later in the same round, Opetaia hit Briedis with a big right hook and followed it up with a sharp combination.

For the next couple of rounds, Opetaia continued to dictate the pace of the fight. In the sixth round, Opetaia landed a series of hard left hand shots, and as a result, blood started streaming out of the nose of Briedis.

Opetaia remained in control of the fight as he used his jab, landed the left hand, and connected with the occasional shot to the body. Through nine rounds of boxing, it appeared as though Opetaia was going to cruise to victory.

Drama finally unfolded in the 10th round as Opetaia landed a big left hand, and then Briedis responded by landing a uppercut that stun Opetaia. As Briedis noticed blood flowing from his opponent’s nose, he continued to press forward and throw power shots.

Briedis became a reenergized fighter as he had Opetaia fighting off his back foot in the 11th. Briedis started the 12th and final round by landing a hard one-two combination.

The 39-year-old continued to fight off the front foot as he knew he needed a knockout in order to win the championship fight.

Mairis Briedis refused to give up as he showed the heart of a champion and put together a very impressively rally. Unfortunately for Briedis, it wasn’t enough as Jai Opetaia earned the unanimous decision victory by the scores of 117-111, 116-112, and 116-112.

Now Jai Opetaia (25-0, 19 KOs) is a two -time IBF cruiserweight world champion. Jai Opetaia sees more belts in his future as he foresees his next bout being a unification match.

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