Mairis Briedis’ promoter Kalle Sauerland has told Boxing Social that the deposed IBF and Ring magazine cruiserweight champion is aiming for a quick return to action after his defeat to Jai Opetaia…
When promoter Kalle Sauerland spoke to Boxing Social on Sunday, he still seemed in awe at the savage spectacle conjured by Mairis Briedis and Jai Opetaia the previous day at the Gold Coast Convention Centre in Queensland, Australia for the IBF and Ring magazine cruiserweight titles.
“The fight was an absolute war.”
“When you have one fighter who ends up with a broken jaw and the other with a broken nose that says everything you need to know about the brutality of the fight, how tough the fight was and what two absolute gladiators they were – one a very young and promising gladiator and the other a master lion.”
The 37-year-old Briedis struggled to find his rhythm early on as Aussie upstart Opetaia sped into a wide lead, busting the champion’s nose and landing a huge uppercut in the fourth which left Briedis disoriented and heading to the wrong corner at the bell.
However, the champion clawed his way back into the contest in the second half of the fight, with Opetaia at times hanging on grimly for survival in the final few minutes. Only after the end of the contest was it discovered that a Briedis uppercut in round two had broken the Australian’s jaw.
Sauerland’s gave his assessment of the fight:
“It was a little bit a tale of two halves.”
“Down the stretch – for me – Briedis did enough to nick the draw. He had Opetaia out on his feet and holding on. But all credit to Jay Opetaia, what a fantastic performance. Mairis was very impressed with him And maybe the old lion even overlooked him a little bit.”
Turning his attention to the possibility of a rematch, Sauerland revealed:
“There will be discussions now about the rematch but I think they [the Opetaia camp] will have to take the next week to assess the situation.”
“Opetaia apparently has a double break in his jaw from what l’ve been told so he could be out for a very long time. Mairis wants to fight very quickly again. So we will have to see where things go.”
Although Briedis is now 37, retirement – according to Sauerland – is far from the Latvian’s mind:
“Obviously we now have a big new player in the cruiserweight division in Opetaia who emerged last night, but I still believe that Mairis is – if not the top guy – then certainly one of the very top guys.”
“On pedigree alone he’s still probably top of the roster. He told me this morning that his goal is to become a four-time cruiserweight world champion, I think that says it all.”