Jai Opetaia retained his IBF cruiserweight world title with a destructive display over Manchester’s Jordan Thomspon tonight at Wembley Arena in London, England.
The reigning champion came to the UK to defend his belt after 14 months outside the ring, since he won his title against Latvian Mairis Briedis.
Opetaia stacked some odds in the favour of his opponent, fighting in Thompson’s country combined with the long layoff had some believing the Brit could succeed in jumping up so far, so quickly.
It wasn’t to be, the Australian southpaw made short work of the much taller Thompson winning inside four rounds.
Problems began for Thompson inside the first round, Opetaia wasting no time in showing the gulf in skill between the pair. The champion forced the pace early, landing his jab to the body and landing his left hand inside the first 60 seconds. The next minute saw Opetaia walk down Thompson landing well timed shots throughout. He nearly had Thompson out in the opening round, landing an overhand left that backed up his opponent on 25 seconds followed up by a flurry that saw two lefts and a clubbing right hand land. Thompson did well to fire back but was caught with another left hand for his troubles. Opetaia went to work with a gluttony of shots in the final seconds, but Thompson was saved by the bell on his feet.
Opetaia got straight back to world in the second pushing the action from the opening bell. His switching of stance and high end footwork gave Thompson little opportunity to strike. The Australian landed another big left hand just after 30 seconds. He landed another two left hooks halfway through the round, Thompson replied with an uppercut under the duress. The Manchester man was walked down until the bell, landing one right to the body in a fight he was already being dominated in.
The champion let the fireworks off in the third. He had Thompson again backed in the corner that brought some bite out of his opponent attempting to trade which proved to be the beginning of the end. Thompson came forward to land the overhand right, but was countered by two right hooks followed by a left that dazed Thompson, slowly dropping to his feet. He rose to his feet on the count of four, protesting a slip. With two minutes left, Opetaia pinned his adversary to the ropes letting rip a left hand. Thompson's legs looked unsteady when Opetaia landed with a left hook with over half the round to spare. It rained right and left hands until the bell, which Thompson was again saved by.
The fourth round saw Opetaia waste no time in a fight he was levels above. A sharp left hand sent Thompson stumbling, Opetaia pounced with a combination with his opponent against the ropes that sent his foe to the floor. Referee Howard Foster had already waved the fight off before a count could be conducted only 20 seconds into the round.
Thompson picks up a career first defeat, his record now stands at 15-1 (12 KOs). Opetaia continues his undefeated streak, his record improving to 23-0 (18 KOs) in his first defense of his IBF cruiserweight title.
As things stand former champion Mairis Briedis looks set to rematch Opetaia, the Australian now signed with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom.