A top-10 world ranking is the potential prize on offer for Jai Opetaia, one of Australia’s hottest boxing prospects.
The classy 24-year-old cruiserweight from the NSW central coast fights New Zealander Nikolas Charalampous (18-2, 8 KOs) at Sydney’s Luna Park..
Opetaia (17-0 , 14 KOs) is rated 11th in the WBA, 12th in the IBF and 15th in the WBO.
He will defend his interim World Boxing Association Oceania cruiserweight title and fight for the WBO global belt, with his connections confident a win will catapult him into the top 10 of some organisations
“Hopefully four or five fights and I’ll get that world title shot,” Opetaia told AAP.
Charalampous’ only losses were two points decisions in fights for the Australian National Boxing Federation Australasian cruiserweight title.
“The fact that he’s had eight weeks to prepare just for my style I think he’s going to come out with a few tricks,” Opetaia said.
“I know he’s a tough opponent and can take a big shot. He’s had a big amateur background as well.
“He’s got more experience in the ring as a pro than me so I’ve got to fight smart.
“It’s a big test for me and I look forward to it.”
Opetaia is backing up two months since his last fight, which came after a break of almost 11 months following a frustrating run of cancellations.
“This is my job, it’s good to stay busy and keep working,” said Opetaia, a former junior light heavyweight world champion and 2012 Olympian.
Saturday’s undercard includes a fight between former South Sydney NRL teammates Luke Burgess and Beau Champion.