Jai Opetaia, the IBF and Ring cruiserweight champion, says he wants a fight against Oleksandr Usyk at heavyweight.

Opetaia’s Ambitions Beyond Cruiserweight

The 28-year-old Opetaia (25-0, 19 KOs) is being talked about moving up to heavyweight to look for bigger opportunities in that weight class that aren’t available to him at the barren cruiserweight, which is filled with no-name fighters who compete below the radar of most boxing fans.

Usyk recently told the media he wanted to move down to cruiserweight to try and become a two-time undisputed champion in that weight class. He accomplished this feat in 2018 when he defeated Murat Gassiev.

It’s unclear how serious Usyk is about moving back down to cruiserweight because there are so few compelling fight opportunities in that division besides a clash against Opetaia.

That fight would only resonate with people in Australia and hardcore boxing fans because Opetaia hasn’t been around long enough to create a large fan base outside of his home country.

The only name guy on Opetaia’s resume is 39-year-old Mairis Briedis, and he gave him a lot of problems in their two fights.

The Need for a Swift Move

Opetaia will need to move up in weight soon to catch the 37-year-old Usyk while he’s still in the game. He will likely not be around too much longer, and Opetaia will be at the end of a long line of potential options for the Ukrainian star.

The best way for Opetaia to get a fight against Usyk is to move up to heavyweight right now and use his connection with the Saudis to take on the winner of the Jared Anderson vs. Martin Bakole fight on August 3rd.

If Opetaia beats one of those guys, his popularity will soar, and he might be the radar of Usyk or one of the other big names. I have my doubts that Opetaia could beat any of the top fighters like Bakole, Anderson, or Daniel Dubois because he had so many problems against Briedis.

“I would love to fight Usyk respectfully. I’ve always been so close to him,” said Jai Opetaia to Fight Hub TV about his desire to fight Oleksandr Usyk. “I was 16 years old, and I qualified for the Olympics. I competed at 17, and he won that Olympic games.

“I’ve always been there. It wasn’t my time yet. I feel like my time is coming,” said Opetaia.

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