Jai Opetaia formally vacates IBF cruiserweight world title

The cruiserweight weight division’s number 1 fighter is now without a world title after deciding to relinquish the IBF world title.

Jai Opetaia (23-0, 18 KOs) claimed the red and gold belt against Mairis Briedis in a Fight of the Year candidate on the Gold Coast in Australia last July. After a year of inactivity and promotional disputes he signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom, debuting for the British based outfit with a fourth round knockout victory over Jordan Thompson in London this past September. 

The 28 year old southpaw takes on England’s Ellis Zorro this Saturday on the colossus Day of Reckoning bill which included Deontay Wilder Vs Joseph Parker and Anthony Joshua Vs Otto Wallin in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Press release from the IBF:

Springfield, NJ - Late last evening the IBF received notice from Michael Francis representing Jai Opetaia advising that Opetaia has decided to relinquish his title as IBF World Cruiserweight Champion. In an email to IBF President Daryl Peoples and the IBF Board of Directors, Francis noted the team’s disappointment in having to reach this decision but acknowledged the IBF rules that affect this situation should be adhered to.

The IBF accepts Jai Opetaia’s decision to vacate the title and wishes him well.

Mairis Briedis, who is ranked #3 in the IBF Cruiserweight ratings, will be ordered to negotiate with the next leading available contender for the vacant IBF Cruiserweight World Championship bout.