It’s rare for a fighter to have so much hype.
On Thursday evening, Australia will not only get a glimpse of our best chance for a boxing gold medal at next year’s Olympics in up-and-coming star Justis Huni, but also what is probably the biggest heavyweight showdown between two locals.
As Huni makes his professional debut on the map of Jai Opetaia’s cruiserweight rematch against Ben Kelleher in Brisbane, steps are already underway to have a mega-match between Huni and Opetaia within two years.
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The couple play together and have world title ambitions, but the undefeated Opetaia are looking to clean up the cruiserweight division before moving up to the heavyweight division, where Huni is believed to have established himself as a global star.
“If this fight takes place, it will be the biggest fight in Australia,” said Opetaia.
“I count on myself and this guy can make history.
“But when I say that, I have to tick a lot of boxes in the cruiserweight division first, and in the heavyweight division I have to tick a lot of boxes.
“We still have a long journey ahead of us before this fight takes place, but it’s great that we can make history together.”
Huni makes his professional debut with the expectation that he will become Australia’s all-time heavyweight.
At 21, he tries to make history by winning a national title in his first professional fight by defeating Australian heavyweight champion Faiga “Django” Opelu (13-1-1, 10KO).
According to the Olympic regulations, boxers are allowed to play up to 10 professional fights and still take part in the games as amateurs.
After COVID-19 canceled the 2020 Tokyo Games, Huni decided he would move to the Pro ranks before trying to win a gold medal next year when the revamped Games take place.
Boxing: Ahead of his rematch with Ben Kelleher, cruiserweight boxer Jai Opetaia breaks down as it was in 2020, a year that has posed many obstacles for the Australian.
He is a 190 cm tall giant with the footwork and speed of a lightweight. Several veteran boxing experts have named Huni the best view Australia has seen since the advent of Kostya Tszyu and Jeff Fenech.
Having already expressed his ambition to unite the heavyweight division, Huni lacks neither confidence nor dexterity, and he is ready for the eventual showdown with Opetaia.
“If the fight takes place, it will be special for Australia and the world,” said Huni.
“It’s nice to see two Polynesian boys from Australia going all the way up.”
Opetaia (19-0, 15 KO), who defeated Kelleher in 2018 with a technical knockout, plans to quickly defeat his rival in the rematch and fight again at the end of November to secure a world title – he is fourth in the IBF and No. 10 from the WBO.
Based on the Central Coast of New South Wales, 25-year-old Opetaia is partnering with Samoa Tourism to promote travel to the island nation if COVID-19 regulations allow.
“I’m amazed because I wanted to do a training camp there, Justis wants to, hopefully we can get there as soon as the restrictions are lifted. It is a beautiful country, ”said Opetaia.
* Huni against Opelu and Opetaia against Kelleher 2 will be shown live on Thursday from 7pm AEDT on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo
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