Hearn: What benefit does Opetaia get out of sparring Tyson Fury?

Eddie Hearn, the head of Matchroom Boxing, was properly excited about the compelling bout he is bringing to the San Francisco Bay Area.  Hearn was in full promoter mode as he was eager to talk about the return of Devin Haney to Matchroom Boxing and DAZN, as he faces Regis Porgrais on December 9th, on DAZN pay-per-view, live from San Francisco, California, at the Chase Center, the home of the world champion NBA team, the Golden State Warriors. 

Yet one of the topics of interest was what is next for Jai Opetaia, widely considered the best cruiserweight in the world. Two weeks ago, it was reported by ProBox TV News that Opetaia would spar with Tyson Fury ahead of his bout with Oleksandr Usyk which for now is simply rumored and speculated. Why is that? Well, Fury is fighting an MMA fighter Francis Ngannou, on an ESPN+ pay-per-view on Saturday. Depending on the outcome, which most see as a guaranteed win for Fury will prompted when not if we see the fight. 

A date speculated was December 23rd, two days before Christmas with the bout potentially spilling over to the 2024 if something were to occur to prolong the bout. 

Hearn spoke to the benefit or lack thereof for Opetaia in sparring Fury. 

“They have asked him [to be in camp with Fury], but it is difficult,” Hearn told ProBox TV News. “What benefit does Opetaia get out of sparring six-foot, nine heavyweight, do you know what I mean? I guess it is all experience, [but] he is a star in his own right, not just a sparring partner. [He might] do some rounds with the Gypsy King [Tyson Fury].”

Opetaia, who recently signed with Matchroom Boxing prior to his fourth-round technical knockout and destruction of Jordan Thompson on September 30th. This came on the heels of him defeating the best cruiserweight currently Mairis Briedis to win the IBF cruiserweight world title. Most impressively Opetaia did this with a broken jaw, which caused a little over a year delay in his return to the ring, as he had an extended recovery. 

“He beat Briedis who was the division king,” said Hearn. “He beat him with a broken jaw [that occurred] in the second round. You got a guy there from Australia who I think is going to make big moves.”

Despite being an Australian, British boxing fans have taken to him, or at least that is what Matchroom Boxing’s head honcho believes.

“The Brits have gone mad for him,” stated Hearn to ProBox TV News. “[They] just saw a guy who is a little bit crazy, who is in there with bad intentions. I think people love the way he fights.”

Now the question is - if Fury is successful against the novice boxer, Francis Ngannou, will Opetaia head to camp with Tyson Fury? Opetaia is listed as six-foot, two inches tall, along with a southpaw with a reach of 76 inches, compared to Oleksandr Usyk who is a southpaw at six-foot, three inches, and has a 78-inch reach. The measurements are similar as are some of the movement as well.

Yet, as Hearn stated is Fury getting all of the benefit if Opetaia spars Fury or will Opetaia get some benefit from boxing with one of the best fighters in the world? That seems to be the question that some are wondering.