By Declan Taylor
JAI OPETAIA has warned Chris Billam-Smith to be wary of ‘old bull’ Mateusz Masternak – and hopes to fight the winner in February.
Opetaia is currently in Australia preparing for his December 23 world title defense against Ellis Zorro in Riyadh.
But the IBF champion will be keeping a close eye on Bournemouth this weekend when heavy favorite Billam-Smith fights for the first time since beating Lawrence Okolie at the home of AFC Bournemouth in May.
And although Masternak is as wide as 3/1 with some bookmakers, Opetaia believes it will not be a straightforward night’s work for CBS.
“I’m not sure how it goes,” Opetaia told Boxing News. “It’s a good fight.”
“Masternak is very experienced, has been around for a long time and is a good boxer. He’s a bit long in the tooth but those old bulls have still got it.
“Then Chris Billam-Smith is tough, he always comes to fight and it’s hard to beat someone who doesn’t want to lose. He believes in himself.
“I hope it’s a good fight for the crowd and I hope whoever wins reaches out so we can make that fight happen.”
Opetaia has made no secret of his desire to win the WBO belt, which Billam-Smith claimed with his upset victory against Okolie.
And the 28-year-old Australian is hoping to secure a shot at it in the first half of next year regardless of who wins at the Bournemouth International Centre.
He added: “We just had some family banter around the WBO belt. It’s something that I’ve always been chasing since I was a younger kid. We’ve always been making jokes about it.
“It would be awesome to have that WBO so when that time comes, we will get the job done.”