Eddie Hearn believes ' Jordan Thompson punches harder than Briedis' ahead of cruiserweight clash with Jai Opetaia in London

IBF cruiserweight world champion Jai Opetaia is the man who beat the man. He snatched the title from cruiserweight king Mairis Briedis 14 months ago in a fight of the year contest, which saw the Australian southpaw fight the majority of the contest with a broken jaw in two places. 

After recovery and a now settled legal dispute, Opetaia can finally get back to work when he defends his title against the fast rising Jordan Thompson at Wembley Arena in London, England tomorrow night. 

Opetaia (22-0, 17 KOs) comes to the UK for the first time in his professional career where he makes his first title defence in Thompson’s England. On paper Thompson’s resume is far from that of the champion’s after 15 wins and zero losses (12 KOs), his most notable victory coming against national level contender Luke Watkins. 

However, Thompson jumps in to face Opetaia nonetheless due a series of failed negations. The world champion eventually joined Thompson in the Matchroom stable setting up tomorrow’s cruiserweight clash in the English capital.

“Firstly, [Mateusz] Masternak pulled out of the fight.” Hearn said of his struggles in finding a challenger for Opetaia in an exclusive interview for ProBox TV. “Then [Richard] Riakporhe pulled out of the fight. The opportunity was there for Jordan Thompson to jump in, he accepted and it is an intriguing one. Thompson is a great athlete, he can punch very hard, but Opetaia is very good, the best cruiserweight in the world, super tough. It’s a massive ask for Jordan Thompson, but him and Tony Sims believe he has the power to win that fight. It’s two very explosive cruiserweights, two athletes and I think it is a really good fight. Obviously Opetaia is the big favourite, but I’m looking forward to Saturday night.

“Don’t forget he broke his jaw in two places and fought ten round with it {against Briedis]. So this guy is super tough but Jordan Thompson punches harder than Briedis in my opinion. He hasn’t got the experience and he hasn’t boxed at that level but he will be very dangerous early on in this fight against Opetaia, the proven champion.”

The winner is scheduled to face former cruiserweight world champion Briedis by order of the IBF, also confirmed by Hearn.