The IBF World Cruiserweight Champion – Jai Opetaia was warmly welcomed by Maluafou College in Apia today.
Opetaia is in Samoa at the invitation of the Honourable Minister of Tourism, Toeolesulusulu Cedric Schuster.
The Maluafou College school visit was part of the boxing champ’s official visitation schedule issued by the Samoa Tourism Authority last week.
The 27 year old Samoan Australian professional boxer has taken part in a number of activities to help celebrate Samoa’s 60th Independence.
He posts on his social media page to thank the school for hosting him..
“Maluafoa College, it was my great pleasure to spend the morning with you all. Thank you for the warm welcome 🙏🏽’
Opetaia has held the IBF and The Ring cruiserweight titles since July 2022.
He had worked with the Samoa Tourism Authority pre-covid to promote Samoa, and also visited in 2019.
As an amateur he won a bronze medal at the 2012 Youth World Championships and represented Australia at the 2012 Olympics and 2014 Commonwealth Games.
Opetaia was scheduled to face Daniel Ammann for the vacant WBC-OPBF and Australian cruiserweight titles on July 15, 2017. He won the fight by a ninth-round technical knockout.
Opetaia was next scheduled to face Frankie Lopez for the vacant IBF Youth cruiserweight title on October 21, 2017. He won the fight by a first-round technical knockout.
Opetaia made his first Australian Cruiserweight title defense against Benjamin Kelleher on January 17, 2018. He won the fight by a third-round technical knockout.
Opetaia fought for yet another regional title on April 7, 2018, when he was set to face Lukas Paszkowsky for the vacant WBO Asia-Pacific cruiserweight title. He won the fight by a second-round technical knockout.
Opetaia made his first WBO Asia-Pacific cruiserweight title defense against Kurtis Pegoraro on June 29, 2018. The fight was simultaneously a fight for the vacant IBF Pan-Pacific cruiserweight title. He won the fight by a second-round knockout.
Opetaia fought Navosa Ioata for the vacant WBA Oceania interim cruiserweight title on May 15, 2019, and won the fight by an eight-round technical knockout.
Opetaia made his first title defense two months later, on July 27, 2019, against Nikolas Charalampous, while also fighting for the vacant WBO Global cruiserweight title. He won the fight by unanimous decision.
Opetaia made the first defense of these two titles, and fought for the inaugural IBF Asia-Oceania cruiserweight title, against Mark Flanagan on November 16, 2019. He won the fight by an eight-round technical knockout.
Opetaia was scheduled to defend his IBF Asia-Oceania and WBO Global cruiserweight titles in a rematch with Benjamin Kelleher on October 22, 2020. He won the fight by a sixth-round technical knockout.
IBF and The Ring cruiserweight champion.
Opetaia vs. Bried
Opetaia was scheduled to challenge the reigning IBF and The Ring cruiserweight champion Mairis Briedis on 6 April 2022. The bout was postponed as Briedis tested positive for COVID-19.
The bout was rescheduled for 11 May, and was expected to take place at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre in Broadbeach, Queensland, Australia.
The bout was once again postponed on April 8, as Opetaia suffered a rib injury, and rescheduled for July 2nd.
Opetaia won the fight by unanimous decision, with scores of 116–112, 116–112 and 115–113.
During the fight, Opetaia badly broke his jaw in two places. Unable to give an interview following the match, he was instead taken directly to the hospital to undergo surgery to repair the fractures.
Jai Opetaia continues to demonstrate inspirational strength and courage as he pursues his professional boxing career.