Hearn on Jai Opetaia: He’s The King of The Division, He’s a Monster

Promoter Eddie Hearn of Matchroom believes IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia is without question the king of the cruiserweight castle.

Earlier this month at London’s Wembley Arena, the Australian champion demolished Jordan Thompson inside of four rounds.

Thompson found himself in trouble in every single round – until the referee had seen enough in the fourth and waved it off.

For Opetaia, it was his first fight in 15 months after suffering a broken jaw in his July 2022 title winning effort over division veteran Mairis Briedis – who at the moment is Opetaia’s mandatory.

Thompson entered the picture after Richard Riakporhe and Mateusz Masternak withdrew from potential fights with Opetaia.

The unbeaten champion was highly motivated to make a real statement, because he felt the entire event was centered around Thompson.

“I told you. This is what I do … I’m born for it, live for it,” Opetaia said. “I feel like this fight night was Jordan Thompson’s fight night.

“They made it about him, nothing to do with me. They put me in this small ring, thinking they’d cut me off, my good footwork. But that’s what happens.”

Opetaia (23-0, 18 KOs) is hoping for a high-stakes unification against WBO beltholder Chris Billam-Smith, who watched Opetaia’s most recent win from ringside.

Hearn expects Opetaia to become the next undisputed champion of the weight class – after Oleksandr Usyk reached that accomplishment back in 2018. 

“This is the guy that’s going to rule the division; he’s the king of the division, a special fighter,” Hearn said.

“He’s a monster; I hope people tuning in back home (in Australia) start to realize. You’ve got Tim Tszyu who’s a great fighter but this guy has done it, beaten champions. There’s massive fights to be made in Australia … he should be a national hero. Our job now is to make sure he brings every belt to Australia.”

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