Mairis Briedis travelled to the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Australia, and he found a slow start to be costly, as Jai Opetaia became the new IBF cruiserweight champion with a gutsy points win.
Briedis (28-2, KO20) came in as the consensus cruiserweight number one, and a three-time world champion, having also served as WBC and WBO champion previously. The Latvian won the IBF crown along with the Muhammad Ali Trophy in September 2020 with a majority nod against Yuniel Dorticos, and his only loss came via tight majority decision against Oleksandr Usyk in January 2018. Opetaia (22-0, KO17) went into his biggest test as a regional IBF champion, and had been nowhere near the elite level of his opponent.
It was a steady opening round for both with little action, but the champion was nicked over his right eye. Opetaia was in confident mood, and was boxing nicely at range, landing an eye catching combination in the second, and the pair opened up in round three. Opetaia was getting the better of the exchanges, but its was Mairis Briedis who ended the frame strongly, connecting cleanly with several punches at the end of the round.
The challenger was proving to be in inspired form, hurting Briedis in the fourth with a volley of punches, and a massive uppercut badly damaged Mairis Briedis’ nose, as he was being busted up, with further punishment being shipped in the fifth.
OPETAIA BEATS BRIEDIS via UD‼️🥊 He outboxed and beat up the cruiserweight king, showing a great chin too as Briedis came on strong in the late rounds 👏🏼 This clip is from Round 4 where Opetaia hurt Briedis with a beautiful corkscrew uppercut 😮💨 #BriedisOpetaia #Boxing pic.twitter.com/g3TdWP0Y4J
— No Nonsense Boxing (@NNBoxing) July 2, 2022
Opetaia was showing no signs of slowing down, but Briedis dug deep with a decent seventh and eighth. Opetaia wrested control back in the ninth, as Briedis was forced to take more risks, but the champion uncorked a huge right hand that rocked Opetaia in round ten, and the home favourite did well to see the session out. Jai Opetaia was showing plenty of heart, through the pain of a suspected broken jaw, and he grimly clung on to hear the final bell of what was an epic.
Two scores of 116-112, and a third at 115-113, confirmed Jai Opetaia as the new world champion.
…and THE NEW! 🇦🇺 #BriedisOpetaia #boxing pic.twitter.com/VTQkNNCXkz
— przemek garczarczyk (@garnekmedia) July 2, 2022
Conor Wallace (9-1, KO6) took the vacant IBF Pan Pacific light heavyweight title, and the WBA Oceana belt, with a split decision win over the world ranked Faris Chevalier (13-2, KO7). A score of 96-94 for Chevalier was rightly overruled by two verdicts of 98-92 for Wallace.
In a scrappy affair, Koen Mazoudier (10-2, KO4) became the new WBA Oceana super welterweight title for a second time, as he took a repeat split decision win over Joel Camilleri (22-8-1, KO10). The pair had met in November last year, where Mazoudier won via split decision over eight rounds, and this time he won by scores of 99-92 and 98-92, while somehow, a third judge scored 96-95 in Camileri’s favour.
At middleweight, Isaac Hardman (13-1, KO11) flattened Beau Hartas (6-2, KO4) inside the opening round in a devastating knockout victory.
Oh MY 😳! Issac Hardman scores 1st round KO in his return against Beau Hartas on #BriedisOpetaia undercard pic.twitter.com/bUX1adsvnH
— TstreeT Controversy (@Terel_Vann) July 2, 2022
Two-time Commonwealth Games Gold medallist David Nyika (4-0, KO3) remained undefeated, as he took a second round stoppage win at cruiserweight against Louis Marsters (1-3, KO1).
Taylah Robertson (6-1, KO2) impressed, and the Brisbane native halted Venezuela’s Yoselin Fernandez (11-3, KO5) in the tenth and last round of their super flyweight contest which was for the IBF Youth title.
At featherweight, Dana Coolwell (8-2, KO6) halted Lorenz Ladrada (11-3-1, KO3) with a body shot in the fourth of their eight rounder, and Miles Zelewski (11-2, KO9) stopped Shiva Mishra (8-6, KO5) in the sixth and final round.