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Opetaia headlines list of Aussie boxing world champs


Australian boxing is enjoying a renaissance on the world stage at the moment.

It seems like every month has featured an Aussie fighting for big honours in front of an international audience.

Three Aussie currently count themselves as major world champions – holding either a WBC, WBA, WBO or IBF belt, while one also holds the prestigious Ring title, recognising them as the best fighter in their respective divisions.

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We take a look at which Australians currently hold belts, how they won them and when they’re defending their crowns.

Titles: IBF and The Ring cruiserweight world championship

Champion since: July 2, 2022

Defences: IBF: 0 | The Ring: 2 

Next fight: TBC

Opetaia etched his name into Australian sporting folklore when he overcame a badly broken jaw to defeat Mairis Briedis on the Gold Coast.

The southpaw showcased his sublime boxing skills as well as his otherworldly toughness to take the IBF and The Ring titles off the Latvian.

Opetaia cemented his claim as the world’s best cruiserweight when he dished out a vicious beatdown to six-foot-seven Englishman Jordan Thompson in London.

Despite being forced to vacate his IBF belt prior to his next fight against Ellis Zorro, Opetaia looked every bit the man to beat at cruiserweight when icing the Englishman in the first round in Saudi Arabia.

In a rematch with Briedis in Saudi Arabia, Opetaia repeated the dose, taking a unanimous decision victory, surviving a late rally from the three-time champion to reclaim the IBF belt.

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Title: WBC featherweight world championship

Champion since: April 6, 2024

Defences: 0

Next fight: Dyana Vargas (July 13, Philadelphia)

Nicolson made the big call to forge on with her professional career, rather than return to the amateurs in pursuit of Olympic gold, and it paid almost immediate dividends.

The classy southpaw scored a dominant unanimous decision victory over Sabrina Maribel Perez in Tijuana to claim the interim WBC title.

She then defended the it with a convincing win over Lucy Wildheart in Dublin, recording her first stoppage win as a pro after her opponent’s corner threw the towel in during the ninth round.

Nicolson upgraded her belt to the full title in Las Vegas when she scored a near-shutout unanimous decision victory over Sarah Mahfoud.

The Queenslander will now continue to chase a fight with former undisputed champion Amanda Serrano.

Title: WBA bantamweight world championship

Champion since: May 12, 2024

Defences: 0

Next fight: TBC

Having previously held the IBF super bantamweight strap, New Zealand-born Cherneka Johnson became a two-time champion across two divisions when she picked up the WBA bantamweight strap.

The Melbourne-based fighter defeated Nina Hughes by majority decision as the chief support to Vasiliy Lomachenko’s win over George Kambosos in Perth.

“Sugar Neekz”, 29, made one defence of her previous world title and she’ll no doubt be keen to hang on to this one a little longer.

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