Briedis Has ‘Surprises’ For Opetaia In Saudi Rematch

Mairis Briedis has the chance to reclaim his cruiserweight crown when he rematches Jai Opetaia on the Tyson Fury-Oleksandr Usyk undercard on May 18. 

Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs) lost his IBF world title in a 12-round bloodbath with Opetaia in Australia on July 2, 2022. The pair will now fight for the same vacant title after Opetaia was stripped at the end of last year. 

“I think it has a great storyline,” Kalle Sauerland, Briedis’s promoter, said in an exclusive interview for “We are delighted to be the co-feature to such a great fight in Usyk Vs Fury, there will be big eyeballs on it, it is great for the cruiserweight division.

“Opetaia and Briedis have done it before. We know what we are getting, the ingredients are on the tin. Have a look at that first fight, go have a look at the first fight. It is the tale of the halves. Briedis can’t get to grips with him in the first half, he goes down for the first time in his professional career. He’s in all sorts of trouble. Second half, he comes back. Batters him from pillar to post and breaks every bone in his body, almost. It is a crazy fight.”

The 39-year-old Latvian has not seen the ring since his second career defeat in the Gold Coast while Opetaia has since signed a co-promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, scoring two knockout wins against England’s Jordan Thompson and Ellis Zorro in 2023. 

“Those who say ‘Briedis is over the hill’ and this, that and the other, well it is not the case,” Sauerland explained. “Has Briedis still got it? Well, I haven’t seen him [fight] since that fight, but in that fight remember it was the second half of the fight that he had it. There is a credible argument there as to whether he does still have it, but he had it in the second half of that fight. He could have done three more rounds, in fact Opetaia couldn’t have done three more rounds, he was out cold on his shoulder.

“It’s exciting. I’ve seen some clips of him [Briedis] in the gym, and we got some surprises for you Jai. He looks fantastic. You’ve been around the Briedis camps in the past, they take any fight [seriously]. Even if, unfortunately, it is a 10-round keep-busy fight, they will train meticulously. So I think with this postponement with those Eastern training styles, I think it will create the perfect camp.”

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