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Hearn Predicts Knockout Win For Opetaia In Briedis Rematch

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Promoter Eddie Hearn predicts a knockout victory for former IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia in his rematch with former unified champ Mairis Briedis this Saturday night in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Hearn notes that Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) had to deal with a lot in his fight against the hard-hitting former IBF/WBC champion Briedis (28-2, 20 KOs) in their contest two years ago in 2022, suffering a broken jaw in two places, and winning a close decision.

Opetaia’s Growth & Briedis’ Inactivity

Now two years later, Hearn believes the 28-year-old Opetaia will be better in the rematch, given that he’s had two fights to keep improving, whereas the 39-year-old Briedis has been inactive.

Hearn still believes it’s going to be a tough fight for Opetaia because Briedis is a far better fighter than the British domestic-level opponents Jai has fought recently, who he blew out early knockouts.

Opetaia vs. Briedis II will take place at the Kingdom Arena on the undercard of the heavyweight undisputed championship match between champions Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk. The event will be shown live on ESPN+ PPV and DAZN PPV.

Opetaia’s Potential for a Statement Victory

“It’s a really tough fight, I’ve got to be honest. The first fight, if you watch it back, it was a war. It was a close fight,” said promoter Eddie Hearn to iFL TV, talking about the Jai Opetaia vs. Mairis Briedis cruiserweight clash last December.

“Briedis broke Jai Opetaia’s jaw in two places. He showed unbelievable heart that night. He came through and got the points victory. It was a Fight of the Year contender.”

We don’t know how the two years of sitting on the shelf will affect Briedis, but it’s possible that the rest will have a rejuvenating effect on him. That’s not likely to be the case. Generally when fighters are sitting inactive for as long as Briedis has, they don’t perform well when they return to action.

“A couple of years on, I believe that Jai has gotten better. I feel like his confidence is through the roof now. What Briedis has left, he’s going to have a really big roll of the dice,” said Hearn.

As long as Opetaia doesn’t suffer another broken jaw or some other injury, he’s got a good chance of defeating Briedis. It’s unlikely that he’ll knock him out like Hearn predicts.

“I think it’s a really, really good fight. Look, with all due respect to the last two opponents, Jordan Thompson and [Ellis] Zorro, who are very good British cruiserweight, he [Opetaia] was much too good for them,” said Hearn.

“Now you’re stepping up a level, and I expect it to be a very competitive fight. But I do think he can stop him [Briedis], and I think he’ll make a major statement on Saturday.

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