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Opetaia Wants to Win, But Disappointed in His Performance

Jai Opetaia (25-0, 19 KOs) was not happy with his performance last Saturday night, wishing he could have done better in defeating Mairis Briedis (28-3, 20 KOs) by a 12-round decision to win the vacant slot. IBF cruiserweight belt in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

(Courtesy: Mikey Williams/Top Position)

Opetaia, 28, regrets the way he fought in the last half of the fight. When Briedis came in, forcing him to back down, it seemed to some that he was afraid of the former champion.

Behavioral Change

The scores were 117-111, 116-112 and 116-112. Briedis appeared to be winning the last four rounds, as this was where he began to attack, while Opetatai looked nervous and hesitant. The transformation that Opetaia went through, from looking brave to being shy was shocking. He was a really different person when Briedis followed him.

Boxing fans noticed that when Opetaia’s nose began to bleed and his eyes swelled, he panicked due to Briedis’ pressure. Opetaia looked nervous and didn’t show the heroic spirit she had talked about when preparing for her battle. It was an eye opener.

A Shakur Stevenson-esque performance

Opetaia had talked about wanting his fight to be a fight and hoping that Briedis would come and fight. Interestingly, Opetaia fought like a lightweight Shakur Stevenson, backing off and backing off all night when Briedis attacked him.

That style was exciting, and disappointing because boxing fans on social media had heard a lot about Opetaia during the promotion. He wrestled like a bigger version of Shakur. It was dull.

As the cameras panned in the audience during the Opetaia-Briedis fight, the fans looked bored and some seemed frustrated that Opetaia was not standing when Briedis fell to nowhere to connect to exchange punches.

I hope this style Opetaia showed was just a fluke, and she won’t fight like that in the future because she won’t win fans if she does.

Lessons Learned

“Yes, I have a W and I’m happy with that, but I know I can do better. The last thing of that fight is consuming me,” said Jai Opetaia speaking to Boxing King Media about how he performed in his rematch with Mairis Briedis last Saturday night.

“I can’t wait to get home. Briedis, I respect him. He is a hero in that ring. He showed you. He got my respect there. We always say you are not rude. You earn respect, and I feel like you’ve done the same thing. I take my hat off to him and his team.

“Good. He’s a tough ba****d,” Opetaia said of Briedis. “He’s tough. He kept coming. That’s right. We’re going to learn a lot from that fight. We’re going to learn a lot from those 12 long rounds.

“I felt worthy. I felt like I was trying to hurt him too much. I was chasing him a bit, that’s why I’m frustrated too. If I had waited, it would have come. It’s learning everything, it’s progress,” said Opetaia.

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