Ellis Zorro still facing Jai Opetaia in Riyadh…but IBF world title isn’t at stake

Ellis Zorro is still facing Jai Opetaia in Saudi Arabia on Saturday – despite the Australian being forced to vacate his IBF world cruiserweight title.

The governing body would not sanction Opetaia making a mandatory defence of his belt against the Bromley challenger, 31.

Zorro is 17-0 and holds the WBO European title.

Opetaia (23-0) represents a huge step up in class for the South Londoner in Riyadh as part of a star-studded show.

Riydah, Saudi Arabia: Jai Opetaia training ahead of this weekends ‘Day Of Reckoning’ Show.
19 December 2023
Picture By Mark Robinson Matchroom Boxing

The now strapless Opetaia said: “I cannot wait to get in the ring. It’s all outside noise and it’s also just fuel on the fire. It makes me want to perform even better.

“The thing is all roads lead to me. I am the Ring magazine world champion and the number one in the division.

“I’m locked in on Ellis Zorro and I’m expecting a solid version of him. He’s going to have to pick it up when he faces me.

“I’m ready. I’ve earned my spot here – it didn’t happen by accident.”

Zorro’s promoter Frank Warren has described the IBF’s decision as “ridiculous”.

Warren added: “It’s very short-sighted of the IBF if they go down this road.”

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