Champion boxer Jai Opetaia shows the Rabbitohs the ropes in a boxing masterclass
Standing at 6’2 and weighing in at 91kg, 22-year-old Jai Opetaia is one of the best young boxing talents this country has to offer.
Not only that - he's representing the Rabbitohs.
A Southpaw supremo with an undefeated record of 13-0, Opetaia dropped in to Redfern Oval to give the players a boxing masterclass and test out the facilities on offer at the Rabbitohs' High Performance Centre.
Opetaia will have the chance to add to that when he takes on Queenslander Benjamin Kelleher on Wednesday 17 January for the IBF Pan Pacific Cruiserweight title, in the lead up to the headline fight - Anthony Mundine versus Tommy Browne.
Not only will Opetaia be representing his friends, family and supporters when he marches out to the ring, he’ll also be representing the most successful club in rugby league history - by donning the Rabbitohs logo on his shorts.
This is something which resonates well with prop forward Zane Musgrove. “It means a lot to us to have that South Sydney logo on his shorts,” said Musgrove.
“People see that and I’m pretty sure all the fans will get behind him and support him in his fight.”
A relative of Australian soccer player Tim Cahill and ex-NRL player Ben Roberts, Opetaia has further links to the professional sporting sphere through current manager Michael Francis, a former second row forward who represented the Rabbitohs across 56 appearances during the early-mid 90s.
Now working closely with the Australian Cruiserweight champion, Francis likes what he sees. “This fight is another stepping stone for Jai,” Francis said.
“Towards the end of next year he’ll end up in the States. There’s a couple of guys over there who we’ve got our eye on. Within 18 months he’ll be fighting for a world title.”
Unlike the majority of athletes in the realm of boxing, Jai Opetaia is modest and softly spoken when asked about his up and coming fight.
“Training’s been going good, I feel ready for it.” Opetaia said. “I know he’s going to be a tough opponent but I’m ready for anything that comes. It’s good to be on a main event, I’m honoured.”
Catch Jai Opetaia battle to improve his record when he takes on Benjamin Kelleher this Wednesday night from 7pm on Fox Sports 3.