Mairis Briedis confirmed as mandatory challenger to winner of Opetaia-Thompson

The IBF have confirmed that former IBF world cruiserweight world champion Mairis Briedis will be the organisation’s mandatory challenger for their IBF world title and will indeed face the winner of the September 30th encounter between current holder Jai Opetaia and voluntary challenger Jordan Thompson.

Matchroom Boxing last month announced that they had signed Opetaia (22-0) to a co-promotional agreement alongside Tasman Fighters promotional entity based in Australia. Purse bids were due to be held between Opetaia and the previous mandatory challenger, Richard Riakporhe. However, Riakporhe had withdrawn from the proceedings on the advice of his promoter, Ben Shalom.

It was announced yesterday that Opetaia will make the long-awaited first defence of his IBF title against Thompson (15-0) at London’s OVO Arena on September 30th.

Opetaia would claim the IBF world title from Briedis in July of 2022 in a gruelling affair and sustained a broken jaw on the way to a points victory over the Latvian.

Nisse Sauerland confirmed to BoxingScene that Briedis was mandatory for the winner of Opetaia-Thompson and that, despite his position, he did not object to Opetaia having a voluntary defence of his against Thompson.

“We are next for the winner,” Wasserman Boxing’s Nisse Sauerland, Briedis’ promoter, confirmed to “We didn’t object to the special permit.”

Briedis, like Opetaia, has not fought since their July 2022 encounter predominantly due to injuries but was previously scheduled to return last month on July 21st in Edinburgh, United Kingdom, but withdrew due to a slight injury sustained in preparation for the date in question.