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Home » Faiga Opelu vs Joseph Parker to contest Commonwealth heavyweight crown

Faiga Opelu vs Joseph Parker to contest Commonwealth heavyweight crown

Faiga ‘Django’ Opelu, the unfancied wildcard opponent for ex-heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker, has his work cut out in No Limit Boxing’s Melbourne card on 24 May.

Opelu, who resides in Queensland’s sleepy suburb of Camira, is deemed to be a dramatic underdog. Yet he shouldn’t be underestimated as a former Australian heavyweight winner.

The victor will become the first fighter from the Pacific to capture the prestigious Commonwealth heavyweight title. This bout, one of the most meaningful heavyweight fights ever held Down Under, truly puts the sport back on the map in a big way in Australia and New Zealand.

It’s widely touted that Opelu has only been brought in as an attempt to rebuild Parker’s ailing career. This showdown has certainly raised a few eyebrows. On paper it appears to be a mismatch. It also appears a puzzling matchup because this belt is usually pursued by fighters in the early stages of their careers.

Yet Samoa-born 29-year-old Opelu is arguably one of the heaviest hitters that Australia has ever witnessed.

His draw with Kris Terzievski in March was only due to his Melbourne opponent suffering an ankle injury in the early rounds. Opelu (15-3-2, 11 KOs) produced a massive upset last October, courtesy of his stoppage success over previously undefeated New Zealand-Tongan Hemi Ahio.

Opelu has suffered defeats. Beaten by Cameroon-born Aussie Christian Ndzie Tsoye in 2018, stopped by Queenslander Justis Huni in 2020 and knocked out by New South Wales’ 42-year-old Lucas ‘Big Daddy’ Browne in 2021.

The 7,500-capacity Margaret Court Arena will host Parker’s maiden bout on Australian soil. Australasia’s most accomplished heavyweight boxer, who last September tasted only his third defeat in almost 11 years, is on the comeback trail after five years in freefall.

New Zealander Parker (31-3-0, 21 KOs), who last defeated England’s Jack Massey by decision in January, could have current WBC champion Tyson Fury’s offering ringside support that may intimidate Opelu. England’s self-proclaimed ‘Gypsy King’ is a training partner and close friend with Parker.

Joseph Parker


The 12-round bout for the Commonwealth heavyweight crown has bookmakers heavily favouring Parker with odds as low as 1/10. Little-known Opelu is a 6/1 outside shot to spoil the party and deliver a shock success. Anyone looking to back an outright winner should check out online bookmakers with some of the best sign up bonus bets Australia has to offer, like Unibet.

Those who fancy a punt on this fight should take into account that Parker’s career has stalled since 2018. He’s yet to bounce back from losing his WBO title on a unanimous points verdict to England’s world champion Anthony Joshua at Cardiff’s Principality Stadium in Wales.

The Opelu-Parker bout is a part of a double-header headline alongside the showdown between the unbeaten duo of Sydney’s Nikita Tszyu against Melbourne’s Benjamin Bommber.

Highly-rated prospect Tszyu (5-0-0, 4 KOs) will battle it out against fellow unbeaten Bommber (5-0-0, 4 KOs). Bommber has been training out of Floyd Mayweather’s gym in Las Vegas, and to prepare has linked up with undisputed lightweight champion Devin Haney’s team.

Popular super welterweight Tszyu stopped Tasmanian Bo Belbin in four rounds on his brother Tim Tszyu’s successful interim world title undercard in March. Bommber’s last fight was his win by decision over Victoria’s Ankush Hooda in November. 

Tszyu will be aiming to follow in his father’s footsteps. Kostya Tszyu was the undisputed champion when he defeated American Jesse James Leija in the headline bout at the Docklands Stadium in Melbourne 20 years ago.

The fight card includes the professional heavyweight debut of ex-AFL ace Cameron Mooney. Mooney, a giant forward at 6’6”, was part of Geelong’s AFL Premiership-winning side in 2007. He’s pitted against former Aussies Rules football star Tom Bellchambers, who’s favoured being an inch taller and ten years younger at the ripe age of 33.

FULL CARD | May 24 (Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne)

Joseph Parker vs Faiga ‘Django’ Opelu (Heavyweight)

Nikita Tszyu vs Benjamin Bommber (Super-welterweight)

Cameron Mooney vs Tom Bellchambers (Heavyweight)

Joel Taylor vs Ben Horn (Welterweight)

Kayne Clarke vs Rikki Naito (Super-lightweight)

Jayde Mitchell vs Max Reeves (Super-middleweight)

David Nyika vs Louis Marsters (Heavyweight)

Campbell Somerville vs Isaias Sette (Super-welterweight)

Luke Gersbeck vs Jack Moore (Super-welterweight)