Cruiserweight sensation Jai Opetaia was recognised by some as the perfect sparring partner to Tyson Fury when his fight with Oleksandr Usyk was announced.
The 28-year-old southpaw won the IBF World Title from Mairis Briedis in 2022, fighting through a broken jaw to take a unanimous decision.
He defended the belt once – a fourth round stoppage of Jordan Thompson – before being forced to vacate when he had a fight with Ellis Zorro lined up because the sanctioning body would only accept the Briedis rematch. Opetaia produced a highlight-reel knockout against Zorro in the first round.
His slick lefty stance and potential as a heavyweight in the future led Fury’s team to get in touch for sparring before the Usyk bout – the current unified champion after winning all four belts down at 200lbs.
Opetaia grabbed the opportunity with both hands, and was then manoeuvred to have his second fight with Breidis on the same card, giving him the chance to win back the now-vacant IBF belt as well as defend his Ring Magazine title.
Whilst the match-up bolsters his career, it has now been revealed that it has shortened his learning experience with ‘The Gypsy King.’
Ben Damon of FOX Sports Australia now reports that, after just five rounds of work, Opetaia has left the camp in order to pursue more orthodox sparring in preparation for his own fight.
Jai Opetaia did five rounds of sparring with Tyson Fury in Saudi Arabia but with a lack of orthodox sparring in Fury’s camp Opetaia has now returned to Australia to continue his own preparations for the planned Mairis Briedis rematch at #FuryUsyk
— Ben Damon (@ben_damon) January 22, 2024
Social media rumours immediately began to suggest that one man had hurt the other, but that has been confirmed as false by Opetaia’s team.