Jai Opetaia stuns Mairis Briedis to win IBF cruiserweight world title

Jai Opetaia has become Australia’s newest boxing world champion with a stunning win over Mairis Briedis on the Gold Coast.

In a result that should sit alongside one of Australian boxing’s biggest shocks, Opetaia claimed the IBF and The Ring cruiserweight titles by unanimous decision in a brutal fight at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Two first-rate judges scored the fight 116-112, while the third scored it 115-113.

Five years after Jeff Horn stunned Manny Pacquiao in Brisbane, Opetaia wrote his own fairy tale just days after his 27th birthday.

Briedis, 37, had only tasted defeat once in his career, against current unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk.

However, despite an eventful comeback in the second half of the fight, the Latvian fighter was unable to eliminate Opetaia, who caught some thunderous shots in the closing stages.

The Aussie showed real guts to overcome a badly damaged jaw on the last lap as Briedis unleashed all his power trying to hold on to his belts.

Opetaia improves his unbeaten pro record to 22-0, while Briedis suffered his second pro defeat to 28-2.

Australia’s youngest Olympic boxer when he competed in London at the age of 16, Opetaia sobbed into the shoulder of his support team as his arm was raised, becoming Australia’s only current male world champion.

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