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  • Writer's pictureLawrence Williams

Jai Opetaia Opts To Vacate His IBF Cruiserweight Title For a Big Payday in Saudi Arabia

The concensus number one fighter in the Cruiserweight division Jai Opetaia (23-0 18KOs) has decided to vacate the IBF title to pursue a big payday in Saudi Arabia on December 23th. Opetaia will face Englishman Ellis Zorro (17-0 7) on Day of Reckoning card. Opetaia is in talks with the organizers in Saudi Arabia for a lucrative multi-fight deal.

Opetaia was ordered to face his IBF mandatory Mairis Briedis in a rematch for the fall of 2023. Opetaia defeated Briedis by unanimous decision in July 2022. Briedis suffered an injury and Opetaia was allowed to face Jordan Thompson in voluntary defense. Opetaia stopped the overmatched Thompson in four rounds on September 30th.

IBF ordered Opetaia to face the Briedis straight after the Thompson fight. There was talks about a spring fight but Opetaia jumped at the chance to face Zorro on one the biggest cards of the year. The IBF did not sanction Opetaia-Zorro fight which led to Opetaia officially vacating the title.

Mairis Briedis, who is ranked #3 in the IBF Cruiserweight ratings, will be ordered to negotiate with the next leading available contender for the vacant IBF Cruiserweight World Championship bout.

Former light heavyweight champion Gilberto 'Zurdo' Ramirez is ranked #4 in the IBF Cruiserweight ratings.

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