As the rounds dragged on and Mairis Briedis grew every second with the ticks, so did the swelling on Jay Opetaya’s face.
The broken jaw continued in the second round but the 11th-round Australian was terrified that he would only last one final.
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At the end of the 11th round, Opetaya survived the ordeal and returned to the corner.
His head coach, Mark Wilson, noticed his jaw for the first time.
Wilson: “I didn’t know until the 11th round when you could clearly see that something was wrong.” foxsports.com.au In the Opetaya locker room after the war.
I thought, ‘We’ve been through this, there’s only one thing left. Run. Run. ‘
“I believe we were two or three or four rounds, I thought. Maybe we started to lose a couple too late.
“Then move on. We have to move. Don’t do stupid things. Move, move. ‘
“We got there.”
And take off the last hat they made.
In the final round, Opetaya may have set his sights on ‘Star Dance’ as he has never moved before.
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If Briedis could catch him, he would not need the blood feeling that he was there to kill the 27-year-old; The Latvian man could see the blood flowing from Opetaya’s mouth because of the broken jaw.
But as the crowd at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Center erupted in applause and joy, Opetaya miraculously remained.
Minutes were heard for hours as the referees’ score cards were collected, but when the ring announcer shouted “and the NEE”, the roof was blown out of the joint and sent to orbit.
For Wilson, it was a time when life finally came into full circle.
“In 2011, Jay and I met first,” Wilson said.
“We went to the Junior World Championships in Kazakhstan and he won the World Cup there.
“It was your destiny to meet the two of us again. You are fighting for the World Cup, I knew you would win tonight. ‘
Wilson, likewise, had unwavering faith in Opetaya.
As Opeta’s early dominance and rapid pace waned, fans began to watch the clash between their fingers in the middle of the fight.
Brave and bloody, Bradis slowly returned to the battlefield and showed exactly why he was the champion to begin with, swinging Opetian in various right upper extremities to help keep his jaw from sticking.
But Wilson calmed down in the middle of the storm and reiterated to Opetaya that he should “keep moving.”
“I knew we could still get him out of the box,” Wilson said.
“I know Jay has the ability to get him out. I was just worried, sometimes Jai could get a little flat foot and wait a long time. That’s when the right hand or the top right was hit. That was all he could do.
“Jay, I said we have to move, we have to go first. We have to go first and get off work when you see him coming. Go out, fight briefly, and you will be caught.
Wilson has been involved in Australian boxing for over 30 years.
The sport has taken him to every corner of the globe, and he has seen countless battles, countless battles, and countless battles.
But where is Opetaya’s huge victory in so many special boxing seasons?
Surprisingly, just above.
“It should be my best time in boxing right now,” Wilson said.
“When youngster Just Honey Amateur won the Youth World Cup, it was one of my greatest prides. He was proud to be a coach at the Olympics.
“But this includes everything. That’s the thing. That’s the real deal.”
Fans at the venue have been in the evening for a long time.
Many of Opeta’s closest supporters will be and will be.
What about the Wilson holidays for the student crown moment?
“I would go with my family for breakfast and drive 900 miles,” Wilson said.
“I have to go west. This battle has been delayed for a long time, but I have decided to play the guest role at the Junior Rugby League Carnival, of which I am a member.
“I’m going back to my hometown of Kunamula.”