JAI OPETAIA is desperate to make an impression on his UK debut and insists he is ‘preparing for war’ against 4/1 underdog Jordan Thompson.
The Australian southpaw faces Thompson at the Wembley Arena on September 30 in his first fight since agreeing a ‘global promotional partnership’ with Matchroom.
It is also Opetaia’s first outing since he upset Mairis Breidis to claim the IBF cruiserweight title in July of last year. Although he won the fight, he broke his jaw in two places and had to eat through a straw for four months.
But after working his way back to full fitness, the 28-year-old can’t wait to fight again and will not be taking the 15-0 (12) Thompson lightly.
Opetaia told BoxingScene.com: “He’s a good fighter, I respect him and I know he’s dangerous. He’s no pushover and I’m coming for war. I’m preparing for a 12-round war. I am f------ coming for this. Wherever this goes I’m ready. I train tremendously hard, put myself in deep waters every day. Let’s get it on.
“That’s just my mindset. I’m not coming in for an easy fight, I’m coming to earn the respect from the fans. I know I’m not that well known over in England and Jordan Thompson is a great opponent so with us two showcasing our best, we will only earn respect.
“It’s a huge opportunity for me. I’m excited for this professional UK debut because I love the fans, I love the support. I want people to say ‘that’s a great fighter’ when I leave there.”
There is a chance that four Brits will be involved in world cruiserweight title fights before the year is out with Thompson boxing for the IBF, Richard Riakporhe linked with WBA champion Arsen Goulamirian and Chris Billam-Smith and Lawrence Okolie potentially rematching with the WBO belt on the line.
But Opetaia refused to rank them and insisted his focus is on those with the belts only.
He said: “Whoever is the best there, that’s who I’ll fight. I’m at a stage in my life where I’m excelling. These other guys that they’re linking me with, the Okolies and people like that, they’re just maintaining what they have.
“I feel like their cup is full and they are trying to keep it full - but mine is only half full at the moment. I’ve got a lot of growth and I’m excited to show that I’m the best cruiserweight in the world.
“They’re all behind me. I feel like the UK has a lot of them but I don’t really waste time looking at people who aren’t in front of me. I’m on a mission to get all these belts. I’m on a mission to unify this division so whoever has the belts, that’s who I want.
“But we are just focused and locked in on September 30. We’ll get the others later but all my energy is going towards September 30. I’m going to come over there and I’m coming at 100 percent with my best performance.”