- What: Jai Opetaia vs Jordan Thompson - Cruiserweight fight
- When: Saturday, September 30th
- Where: OVO Arena, London
While Canelo vs Charlo will take center stage in Las Vegas, there's also another notable fight across the pond on Saturday. Aussie Jai Opetaia will defend his IBF and Ring cruiserweight titles for the first time when he steps in the ring with Brit Jordan Thompson. This is a 12-round bout that will take place at OVO Arena in London, England. Opetaia claimed the belts in his last fight by beating Mairis Briedis last July, while Thompson earned his right to fight for a world title by knocking out Luke Watkins in April. This is a clash between two of the best boxers in the cruiserweight division. Continue reading for the Jai Opetaia vs Jordan Thompson picks.
Opetaia vs Thompson Odds
As you can see, Opetaia is an enormous favorite. He sits at -625 on the moneyline for an implied win probability of 86.21%. Thompson comes back at +425 and has a mere 19.05% chance of winning the title. The total in rounds is set at 9.5. Odds are set at +135 for the bout to go the distance, while -175 odds say it will be done before 12 rounds.
Opetaia a Deserving Favorite
Opetaia brings a boatload of experience to the table. He was the youngest Australian boxer at the Olympics at just 16 in 2012 and won a gold medal in 2011 at the World Championships. Four years later, Opetaia opted to turn professional and since then, hasn't lost a single fight. The Sydney native has a perfect 22-0 record, including 17 knockouts. Impressive to say the least. It only took him about two years to capture the Australian cruiserweight title, knocking out Daniel Ammann in the ninth round in 2017.
In fact, every single one of Opetaia's fights has come in Australia. This is the first time he'll ever box outside of his home country. Perhaps there could be a bit of an adjustment for him on Saturday because the crowd won't be on his side. Briedis really pushed him to the brink last year for the cruiserweight belts, winning via unanimous decision. But, the reality is Opetaia did outbox the Latvian and undoubtedly deserved the win. That was a massive victory though considering Briedis is a three-time champion. It came with it's bruises however as Opetaia suffered a broken jaw in the bout.
The 28-year-old Southpaw was actually supposed to fight challenger Mateusz Masternak but that didn't happen. Richard Riakporhe then withdrew from a scheduled bout just before the match. Politics have halted his progress. Having more than a year off isn't ideal by any means for Opetaia, but there is no question he's been training hard. We'll see if all the work will pay off Saturday.
Thompson has been waiting for the opportunity to be a world champ. He gets it this weekend against the best guy in the division. Since all of those other bouts fell through, Thompson is now fortunate enough to be Opetaia's next opponent, and needless to say, he'll be looking to take advantage and pull off the upset. The Manchester-born, London native is relatively unknown in the boxing world, but he has a solid track record thus far.
He turned pro in 2015 and owns a 15-0 record, including 12 KOs. He's 30 years of age. 2020 was a quiet year for Thompson but he's fought five times since then; all wins. The IBF has him ranked No. 5 in the world in the cruiserweight division. Size is what stands out most with Thompson. He stands at 6 foot 6, which is four inches bigger than the 6 foot 2 Opetaia. There's a clear advantage.
Fighting in his home city, Thompson should like his chances Saturday, but he also will be aware of who he's facing. Opetaia is the lion of the division and just beat a very difficult opposition. Regardless, there is no shortage of motivation for Thompson to announce himself to the world here. It will be very interesting to see how he fares.
Jai Opetaia vs Jordan Thompson Picks
Over a year since getting into the ring is a long time. While I do think Opetaia still wins, Thompson is going to give him a run for his money. The bet I like is for the bout to go the distance.
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