Jai Opetaia destroys Jordan Thompson in four, retains Ring, IBF cruiserweight titles

Jai Opetaia held onto his Ring Journal and IBF cruiserweight titles by obliterating Jordan Thompson. Picture courtesy of The Sporting Information Australia

Ring Journal and IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia (23-0, 18KOs) reminded the world why he’s best-in-class within the 200-pound weight division with a dominant fourth-round knockout over beforehand undefeated Jordan ‘Troublesome’ Thompson (15-1, 12KOs) at Wembley Enviornment in London, England on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Australian southpaw was making his maiden title protection on the highway and was out to impress the British market in his headline struggle on DAZN.

And impress he did, barely placing a foot flawed as he systematically broke down and stopped the six-foot-six Thompson whereas barely struggling a scratch.

From the opening bell the hole in school was obvious. Opetaia managed middle ring, gliding out and in to land straight left arms to the physique and head, negating the four-inch top benefit in Thompson’s favor.

Within the lead as much as the struggle Opetaia let it’s recognized he was out to make an announcement. The primary glimpse of that got here late within the opening stanza when he pinned Thompson to the ropes and unloaded with a volley of photographs that shook the challenger proper up till the bell.

Opetaia continued to check Thompson’s whiskers within the second, leaping in with an enormous overhand left early on. Blood started leaking from Thompson’s nostril as he struggled to regulate to Opetaia’s velocity, motion and angles.

Issues solely received worse for Thompson within the third when he made the error of touchdown a jarring proper cross on the champion. Opetaia responded by launching a vicious two-fisted assault that despatched Thompson to the canvas. The challenger beat the rely however it was a demoralizing second for Thompson, who now appeared reluctant to let his arms go for worry of poking the bear.

After ending the spherical strongly, Opetaia went on with the job within the fateful fourth. Within the opening seconds he shocked Thomspon with a lead left cross that despatched him again on his heels. Sensing his opponent was harm, Opetaia went in for the kill. One other lead left adopted by proper hook noticed Thompson pitch ahead, prompting referee Howard Foster to step in and wave off the one-sided contest because the challenger toppled to the canvas on the 0:20 mark.

“I felt like this whole struggle week was about Jordan Thompson,” stated Opetaia after the win. “It was nothing to do with me. They put me on this small ring considering they had been going to chop me off however look what occurred. I received good footwork… I informed them I received good energy, too. Look what occurred.”

Victory was at all times going to be a stretch for Thompson, who was taking a large bounce up in school to problem Opetaia.

The 30-year-old Londoner stepped in to face Opetaia because the IBF’s highest ranked accessible contender after Mateusz Masternak (47-5, 31KOs) and Richard Riakporhe (16-0, 12KOs) each withdrew from scheduled purse bids on the eleventh hour to pursue different choices.

The struggle was then supplied to veteran Mairis Briedis (28-2, 20KOs), who Opetaia defeated in July final yr to win the world title. Briedis was nonetheless recovering from an undisclosed harm and unable to take the struggle. The 38-year-old Latvian is now anticipated to face Opetaia in a rematch subsequent, probably in Australia.

In his post-fight interview Opetaia reiterated his want to unify the division, beginning with Chris Billam-Smith (18-1, 12KOs).

“I’ve been saying in any respect press conferences, I’ve come right here to earn respect, not disrespect,” stated Opetaia. “Chris Billam-Smith, I’d like to make that struggle occur. I need that WBO round my waist.”

DAZN commentator and former WBC cruiserweight champion Tony Bellew believes Opetaia is the category of the division.

“There’s not a cruiserweight on the planet who can contact him,” he stated.


The Canelo-Charlo conflict is the duvet story to the September 2023 concern of The Ring. Artwork by Richard T. Slone

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