Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images
The bout was scheduled for April 6th, then May 11th
A bit of unfortunate news that slipped through the cracks this week. Cruiserweight contender Jai Opetaia has suffered a rib injury, further delaying a clash with Mairis Briedis that was previously scheduled for May 11th.
The IBF Cruiserweight World Title fight between Mairis Briedis and Jai Opetaia has been postponed for the second time, this time due to a rib injury to Opetaia. A new date will be announced soon #BriedisOpetaia pic.twitter.com/zVbhqmCU4R
— Ben Damon (@ben_damon) April 6, 2022
The pair were originally scheduled to meet on April 6th before Briedis (28-1, 20 KO) came down with COVID. Briedis had been angling for a unification match with WBO champ Lawrence Okolie, but it’s unclear how long Opetaia (21-0, 17 KO) will be stuck on the shelf.
Opetaia isn’t a mandatory challenger, so even a stickler like the IBF shouldn’t have an issue with Briedis facing Okolie if Opetaia can’t bounce back in a timely manner. That said, Wasserman’s press release says a new date for Briedis-Opetaia will be announced “soon.”
It’s yet another setback for Briedis, who’s managed just two fights in nearly three years. He still has a claim to being the top 200-pounder in the game, but it’s a damn shame to see all that WBSS momentum just sputter out.