Opetaia leaves Fury camp to focus on own preparations ahead of Briedis rematch

Former IBF cruiserweight world champion Jai Opetaia has left the training camp of WBC heavyweight world champion Tyson Fury and returned to Australia to finalise his own preparations for his rematch with Mairis Briedis.

Fury faces unified heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk on February 17 in the first undisputed heavyweight title fight for 25 years, with Opetaia facing Briedis on the same Riyadh bill. 

Opetaia returned to action in 2023 after a significant period out of the ring, following injury and promotional issues, which saw the destructive Australian link-up with Matchroom Boxing on a co-promotional basis alongside Australian outfit Tasman Fighters. 

Opetaia defended his IBF title in September against Jordan Thompson, bagging a fourth-round stoppage in London before being forced to vacate his IBF crown after the IBF refused to sanction his December contest with Ellis Zorro. Opetaia claimed a destructive first-round knockout over Zorro as part of the Day Of Reckoning event featuring Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder on December 23. 

Fury drafted Opetaia in to assist the WBC champion in his preparations to face Usyk, flying the Australian into his camp in Saudi Arabia. 

Mark Mathie accompanied Opetaia to Fury’s camp and posted on Instagram that Opetatia’s stint with Fury had been progressing well.

‘Cruiserweight KING of Saudi Arabia,” he posted. “We have had a great first two days of camp over here. Amazing resort, amazing hotel as always.

“Two sessions yesterday and two big sessions today [doing our specifics] followed by an ice bath and swim with the Fury camp.”

However, Ben Damon of Fox Sports has since reported that Opetaia has now left the Fury training camp, having only sparred five rounds with the heavyweight champion. Opetaia, according to Damon, was not happy with the lack of southpaw sparring available inside the Fury camp and has returned to Australia. 

“Jai Opetaia did five rounds of sparring with Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia, but with a lack of orthodox sparring in Fury’s camp, Opetaia has now returned to Australia to continue his own preparations for the planned Mairis Briedis rematch at #FuryUsyk,” reported Damon on social media platform X. 

Further statements have denied social media claims that Fury had been dropped in their sparring session and that the decision for Opetaia to return to Australia was his own.