It’s rare to have this much hype around a fighter.
On Thursday night, Australia will get a glimpse not only of our best boxing gold medal chance at next year’s Olympics in rising star Justis Huni, but likely the biggest heavyweight showdown between two locals.
While Huni is making his professional debut on the undercard to Jai Opetaia’s cruiserweight rematch against Ben Kelleher in Brisbane, moves are already afoot to stage a mega-fight between Huni and Opetaia within two years.
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Justis Huni is ready to show what the hype is all about.Source:Getty Images
The pair spar together and have world title ambitions, but the unbeaten Opetaia wants to clean out the cruiserweight division before stepping up to heavyweight, where presumably Huni will have established himself as a global star.
“When that fight does happen, it will be the biggest fight in Australia,” Opetaia said.
“I reckon me and this guy can create history.
“But in saying that, I’ve got a lot of boxes to tick in the cruiserweight division first, and he’s got a lot of boxes to tick in the heavyweight division.
“We’ve still got a big journey ahead of us before that fight does happen, but it’s awesome we get to make history together.”
Huni makes his professional debut amid a backdrop of expectation that he will become Australia’s greatest-ever heavyweight.
Huni takes on Django Opelu for the national title.Source:News Corp Australia
At 21, he is attempting to create history by winning a national title in his first pro bout by defeating Australian heavyweight champion Faiga “Django” Opelu (13-1-1, 10KO).
Under Olympic regulations, boxers are allowed to have up to 10 professional bouts and still compete in the Games as an amateur.
After COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 Tokyo Games, Huni decided he would move to the pro ranks before attempting to win a gold medal next year if the revised Games go ahead.
Jai happy to be back in ring
Boxing: Ahead of his rematch with Ben Kelleher, cruiserweight boxer Jai Opetaia breaks down what 2020 has been like, a year that has thrown up many obstacles for the Australian.
He is a 190cm giant with the footwork and speed of a lightweight; leading several veteran boxing experts to declare Huni the best prospect Australia has seen since the emergence of Kostya Tszyu and Jeff Fenech.
Having already declared his ambition of unifying the heavyweight division, Huni lacks in neither confidence nor skill, and is ready for the eventual showdown with Opetaia.
“When the fight does happen, it will be something special for Australia and the world to see,” Huni said.
Jai Opetaia is hoping to take care of business against Ben Kelleher.Source:News Corp Australia
Opetaia aims to dominate the cruiserweight division.Source:News Corp Australia
“It’s good to see two Polynesian boys out of Australia going all the way to the top.”
Opetaia (19-0, 15KO), who defeated Kelleher via technical knockout in 2018, plans to make quick work of his rival in the rematch and then fight again in late November as he surges towards a world title – he is ranked No.4 by the IBF and No.10 by the WBO.
Based in NSW’s Central Coast, 25-year-old Opetaia is working with Samoa Tourism to promote travel to the island nation when COVID-19 regulations allow.
“I’m bummed because I wanted to go there for a training camp, Justis wants to go, too, hopefully we can get there as soon as the restrictions lift, it’s a beautiful country,” Opetaia said.
*Huni v Opelu and Opetaia v Kelleher 2 will be shown live on Fox Sports 505 and Kayo on Thursday from 7pm AEDT
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Originally published asAustralia, get ready for unveiling of a heavyweight monster
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