Opetaia eager to end Thompson's world title aspirations

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IBF world cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia has warned he is not coming to the UK for a holiday as he aims to end the title hopes of Jordan Thompson and continue towards unifying the division.

Thompson has won all 15 of his professional contests, 12 inside the distance, but faces a considerable step up in opposition against Australian southpaw Opetaia when the pair clash at Wembley Arena on September 30.

Opetaia became world champion by beating Mairis Briedis on points in July last year and needed surgery following the fight after his jaw was broken in two places.

Having worked his way back to fitness, Opetaia - undefeated in 22 bouts - had a scheduled first defence against Richard Riakporhe fall through after the Londoner withdrew from the purse bid process.

Before that Opetaia also had mandatory challenger Mateusz Masternak pull out during negotiations.

Opetaia, though, is now fully focused on stopping Manchester boxer Thompson, who beat Luke Watkins in April to successfully defend his IBF European cruiserweight title.

"Unfortunately, a lot of things have fallen through out of my control, but we are not going to cry about it," Opetaia told the PA news agency.

"It happened. We look forward and we keep pushing, keep training, keep excelling and getting better at what we do, so it hasn't derailed our focus at all."

Opetaia added: "Jordan Thompson is a good fighter, a good test.

"I am coming over for war - I am not coming over for a holiday. I am excited to get in the ring and let it all out.

"It has been a frustrating year and I have been waiting for this fight to happen for a long time.

"I respect him (Thompson) for taking the fight - that's what we are in the game for, to fight for world titles, but I believe I will be the best fighter that he has fought to date.

"He hasn't been on that international level yet, but that doesn't mean he doesn't belong to be there.

"It's not an easy fight and that's what we want. We want these hard fights. We want to prove that we are the best cruiserweight in the world.

"This is a stepping stone to where I want to go, but that doesn't mean it is an easy one so we are taking it very seriously."

WBO champion Chris Billam-Smith could be a potential opponent down the line for Opetaia, with the British boxer expected to be back in action towards the end of the year having beaten Lawrence Okolie in May.

"I am far from where I need to be and have a lot of unfinished business," Opetaia said.

"I didn't win a world title and that's it. The door has just opened for me and I have still got a lot of boxes to tick."