Huni on hunt for national title

Tokyo Olympian Justis Huni’s first professional fight will be for the Australian heavyweight title.

Huni, a legitimate gold medal contender as a super-heavyweight at next year’s Tokyo Games, will fight national heavyweight champion Faiga “Django” Opelu at Brisbane’s Fortitude Music Hall on October 22.

It’s part of a card that includes a main event of world-ranked cruiserweight Jai Opetaia in a rematch against Ben Kelleher.

The winner of that bout will claim the IBF Intercontinental cruiserweight belt and move a step closer to a world title fight.

Huni also has world title ambitions but he first must dethrone Opelu – who has a record of 13 wins, a draw and a loss from 15 professional fights – for an Australian championship and later focus on his Olympics dream.

A rule change in 2016 that allows fighters with a limited number of professional bouts to compete at the Olympics has the 21-year Queenslander primed for a hectic 12 months after a frustrating period of inactivity due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“I’m excited because this is the way I wanted to come into the pros – with a bang,” Huni said.

“(Opelu) is tough and he keeps coming at you so I’ve got to be ready for anything.

“Then I want another four fights before the Olympics because I just want to stay active.

“I haven’t been in the ring for a while. I’m training non-stop but to be not training for anything it gets hard.

“Now that this has come about, all I can say is I’m excited.”

As is 25-year-old Opetaia, the Sydney-born fighter who is unbeaten in 19 professional bouts.

One of those wins was against Kelleher in January 2018 when the fight ended in the third round due to Kelleher breaking his hand.

“There was a lot of talk after the fight that he had a good chance but I wasn’t satisfied with the way I won the fight as well,” said Opetaia, who is currently based on the Gold Coast.

“I felt like this rematch was a good fight to have and it made sense.”

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