Fury Vs. Usyk: Jai Opetaia Chases Oleksandr Usyk Fight: “I Have Always Stood in the Shadows” - Latest Global News

Fury Vs. Usyk: Jai Opetaia Chases Oleksandr Usyk Fight: “I Have Always Stood in the Shadows”

Jai Opetaia doesn’t just want to inherit Oleksandr Usyk’s throne. He wants to beat the man himself.

Opetaia could potentially be the best cruiserweight in the world today. The Australian will face Mairis Brieidis again on Saturday in the heavyweight bout between Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk in an IBF world title fight, live on Sky Sports box office.

Opetaia has plans to unify the other cruiserweight titles, but he longs to fight Usyk, who was formerly the undisputed champion of the division.

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Usyk’s camp jokingly claims Tyson Fury might appear in an underwear advert and believe he is too skinny

“I would like to fight Usyk,” Opetaia said Sky Sports. “I have been watching Usyk for a long time. I was a 17-year-old boy at the 2012 London Olympics and he won the Olympics. I’ve always been in the shadows, I’ve always been very close and now I’m starting to enter my prime.

“I’m not a little kid anymore. Now they know. I’m on their radar. It is a good feeling. He was always at the top wherever I was. He was always the No. 1 seed, so to get a fight with him – I would like that.”

Opetaia doesn’t blink when he sets his gaze on you. He speaks with unwavering intensity and trains with remarkable ferocity right up to the final days before his world title fight on the Riyadh undercard.

This week he allowed Sky Sports privileged access to see his work in the gym. It wasn’t an easy shakeout, it was a relentless session where he practiced his footwork over and over again before hitting bags with cracking power punches and cycling through the pad work. He worked to the limit and had a second training session on the same day.

It was remarkable to not only gain such insight into the preparation of an elite fighter, but also for Opetaia to go through this routine so close to such a big fight.

“I don’t know why they all have these taper weeks. We are preparing for 12 tough rounds,” explained Opetaia. “It’s what I’m used to, it’s what my body needs, my mind needs. I have to stay active.”

This rematch with Breidis is certainly going to be tough. The first was brutal, with Opetaia defeating the Latvian despite suffering a double broken jaw during the fight.

“I expect a tough fight, I expect 12 rounds of war and anything less than that will be disappointing,” he said.

“If I have to break my jaw again and keep going, then so be it. That’s what it takes.”

These qualities, his courage, his strength and, last but not least, his excellent southpaw footwork led Tyson Fury to hire Opetaia as a sparring partner to prepare for Usyk.

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Usyk watches as Fury pretends to play guitar during his media training

He described his experience with Fury: “It was good to get used to a new style. It was a great little chess game. I learned a lot from it. When I went there, I was focused on leaving there knowing that we meant business. I wanted it.’ I wanted to leave this camp and its entire team and I thought Jai was the one and I feel like I did that.

“I have a feeling we’re going to see a version of Fury in this fight that we haven’t seen in a long time. A hungry Fury. A Fury who can be defeated if he doesn’t perform well and he knows it.” Opetaia added.

“So I feel like he’s going to do his best in a long time to win this fight. He was confident he would win the last few fights.”

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Usyk wasn’t sure what he would do for Fury, but revealed he has a great plan!

“He knew his boxing IQ was better than many of the fighters he fought. He relied on it. With this one he can’t rely on that natural ability, he also has to work hard and I feel like we’re seeing that.

“He keeps proving himself, people keep underestimating him and he keeps proving them all wrong.”

“So I’m really excited to see this fight.”

It is one of the biggest sporting events in a generation. Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk collide for the undisputed world heavyweight championship live on Saturday, May 18th Sky Sports box office. Book the fight now.

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