Andrew Moloney expects Jai Opetaia to defeat Briedis ‘more decisively’ in rematch

Former cruiserweight world champion Jai Opetaia will have the chance to reclaim his IBF title when he rematches Mairis Briedis in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on May 18. 

Opetaia (24-0, 19 KOs) defeated Briedis in a Fight of the Year contender nearly two years ago on the Gold Coast, Australia. Opetaia broke his jaw in two places on way to winning unanimously on the scorecards.

The 28-year-old southpaw made a solitary defense of his world title 14 months later, scoring a fourth-round knockout over Jordan Thompson on his Matchroom debut in London. The Sydney born man was then stripped of his belt ahead of a clash with Ellis Zorro in December. The Briedis rematch has been mandated by the IBF for some time.

“It’s great to see another Aussie doing great things,” Andrew Moloney, fellow Gold Coast resident, said in an exclusive interview. “We all know each other and support each other. I traveled with Jai during the Commonwealth Games in 2014. 

“He’s always been an exceptional talent. His pro career probably didn’t start off how we were all expecting. He has had a few injuries, a few setbacks and a few promotional problems, but he’s really on track now. 

“His career has taken off in the last year or so, now the sky is the limit for him. He’s got it all, all the talent in the world and they are really getting behind him over in Saudi Arabia. He’s going to be involved in some big, big fights.”

Opetaia is still considered the cruiserweight king despite his world title stripping. Briedis has not seen any action since losing his belt in Australia in June in 2022.

“I think Opetaia wins the rematch,” Moloney added. “He beat him the first time around, and since then Jai has been active and Briedis hasn’t. I think since Jai has become world champion his self-belief has gone to another level. I think we are going to see an even better Jai this time around. Expect him to get hold of that belt again and win even more decisively this time.”