Jai Opetaia has promised to do some “damage” when he defends his world title belts in Saudi Arabia alongside heavyweight boxing stars Anthony Joshua and Deontay Wilder.
Riyadh’s December 23 bill is one of the strongest assemblies of talent the sport has seen, the date initially reserved for Tyson Fury and Oleksandr Usyk’s undisputed heavyweight showdown.
That has been postponed to early next year after the Briton’s loss to Francis Ngannou last month, Opetaia among a swathe of champions jumping at the chance to fill the void.
The Gold Coast-based IBF and Ring cruiserweight champion will face English challenger Ellis Zorro in his second defence, Opetaia attending a press conference in London on Thursday (AEDT) when the full card was announced.
He destroyed Jordan Thompson in his first defence in the English capital last month, the 28-year-old moving to 23-0 with the fourth round stoppage.
“We had more seating and people at it than some fight nights I’ve been to,” Opetaia said of the super-charged press conference.
“We came here to make a statement (against Thompson), wanted to do some damage.
“This one, we want to take our time … the damage will come.”
Opetaia also flagged a rematch with Mairis Briedis early next year, who the Australian upset to win his belts despite breaking his jaw in two places.
Joshua has vowed to deliver a “demolition job” on Otto Wallin as he attempts to insert himself back into the world title picture, while Wilder fights former New Zealand world champion Joseph Parker.
It sets up the prospect of a Joshua-Wilder encounter next year.
British heavyweight Daniel Dubois will take on American Jarrell Miller on a stacked undercard, which also features Manchester’s Lyndon Arthur challenging WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
“I can’t predict the future but I know what I want to do. I believe I’m going to be three-time heavyweight champion and the first step is to put a demolition job on Otto Wallin,” 2012 Olympic champion Joshua said.
“It’s going to be a really good time to go to Saudi. It’s going to be big, we haven’t seen a card like this before.
“This is not a one-stop shop. This is a vision, this is my first stop and I will deliver the message.
“I’m determined to win and get back to my peak.”