Jai Opetaia defends his Ring cruiserweight belt against Jordan Thompson on Sept. 30
Jai Opetaia will make the first defense of his Ring and IBF cruiserweight titles against Jordan Thompson at the OVO Arena Wembley on Saturday, September 30 that also sees IBF junior featherweight Ellie Scotney making the maiden defense of her title against Laura Soledad Griffa, live worldwide on DAZN (excluding Australia and New Zealand).
Opetaia (22-0 17 KOs) wrestled those away from Mairis Briedis on home turf in Queensland, Australia in July 2022, outboxing the Latvian with a show of skill mixed with guts.
The 28-year-old extended his unbeaten slate to 22 fights in the paid ranks on that famous night, landing his title at the first attempt in a professional career that began in August 2015 after the imposing southpaw said goodbye to a glittering amateur stint that yielded gold in the World Junior Championships in 2011 and saw him become the youngest ever Australian Olympian fighter when he represented his country in at the 2012 Games in London.
He returns to London next month, putting his red and gold hardware on the line against Manchester’s undefeated contender Thompson (15-0, 12 KOs), who heads into his first shot at world honours on the back of a dominating sixth-round TKO win over Swindon’s Luke Watkins at the Cardiff International Arena back in Cardiff.
The 6′ 7″ powerhouse, who is trained by Tony Sims at the Matchroom Boxing Elite Gym in Essex, has won all five of his fights under the Matchroom Boxing banner since putting pen to paper on a multi-fight promotional deal with Eddie Hearn in June 2021, outpointing Vasil Ducar at the Sheffield Arena in August 2022.
Catford’s 122lbs queen Scotney (7-0) returns to the arena where she was crowned IBF champion in June, comfortably outpointing Australia’s former champion Cherneka Johnson on the undercard of Sunny Edwards’ shutout points win over Andres Campos.
Argentina’s Griffa (20-8, 1 KO) gets her second shot at the IBF belt after falling short in her challenge against Marcela Acuña in August 2018. ‘La Joya’, who fights out of Pehuajo in Buenos Aires, has won both of her fights in 2023.
Gravesend cruiserweight Cheavon Clarke (6-0, 5 KOs) takes on Vasil Ducar (14-6-2, 10 KOs), and Warrington’s Rhiannon Dixon (8-0, 1 KO) meets Norway’s former title challenger Katherina Thanderz (16-1, 2 KOs) for the vacant EBU European lightweight crown.
Billericay middleweight George Liddard (4-0, 3 KOs) and Eltham flyweight Maiseyrose Courtney (4-0) have a quick turnaround after picking up wins on the Joshua vs. Helenius undercard at The O2 in London earlier this month. Shannon Ryan (5-0) fights for the sixth time as a pro and Tony Sims-trained middleweight Jimmy Sains makes his professional debut.
“I have been waiting too long for someone to challenge me and now we finally have a fight,” said Opetaia. “Thank you Jordan for stepping up but I hope you are ready!”
“Opetaia is the recognised number one in the division and the best guy out there and that’s why he’s the one I want,” said Thompson. “This is my time now and the world will see that on September 30th. I ain’t never been one to just take part, I’m a winner, I’m going to win.
“Winning a title is every fighter’s dream but now I want more,” said Scotney. “I want to prove myself the best junior featherweight in the world, but a true champion also has to be willing to defend her title. I wanted to stay active and getting to defend the belt in the same venue I was crowned World Champion gives me the ideal opportunity to show that there are levels to this sport On September 30 I will show just that.”
“I am very excited to be fighting for the title for a second time,” said Griffa. “Ellie Scotney is a very good and skilful boxer, but she doesn’t have the heart and toughness that I do. I am a true warrior and will bring war to London September. I will break her down bring the title back home to Argentina.”
A press release from Matchroom was used in this article.