Aussie boxer out to KO COVID disruption

His international plans put on hold by COVID-19, rising Australian boxer Jai Opetaia isn't giving up on his world title ambition.

JAI OPETAIA walks to his corner during his undercard fight at The Star in Sydney, Australia.
JAI OPETAIA walks to his corner during his undercard fight at The Star in Sydney, Australia. Picture: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

It hasn't knocked him down but the hit of COVID-19 on rising Australian boxer Jai Opetaia's world title ambition has been a heavy blow.

The Gosford cruiserweight was just months ago in the frame to take on global superstar Tyson Fury, with plans being hatched for a bout at Bankwest Stadium in 2021.

Then the coronavirus pandemic brought the world, and Opetaia's plans, to a halt.

"It seemed like just when it was about to start getting more important for us that's when it all just sort of cut out," Opetaia told AAP.

"If I focus on the negative too much it'll just keep eating me up.

"So we're just focused on the positive, when we just work out our next move forward instead of what could've happened."

Ranked inside the top 10 for his division in four of the world's biggest boxing organisations, Opetaia's options at the moment remain limited.

The 25-year-old, with a 19-0 professional record, has relocated to the Gold Coast for the remainder of 2020 and is hoping to have a rematch with Ben Kelleher in October in Brisbane.

The pair fought in 2018, with Opetaia winning after Kelleher suffered a broken hand in the third round of that bout.

It's a far cry from the fights Opetaia thought he'd be preparing for, but getting himself into the ring during the pandemic is important for ensuring he can pursue international opportunities in the future.

"I want a world title shot but with this whole COVID-19 it's so hard," he said.

'The main sort of cruiserweights and stuff are all over Europe, the world-ranked ones, and just to get over to Europe or get someone over here is just a big headache at the moment.

"Every fight I have to treat like a world title fight ... if I can't beat this guy then it'll sort of put me back so much more so, I'm focused, I'm ready."