Recently in Saudi Arabia, heavyweight renaissance man Joseph Parker and IBF cruiserweight champion Jai Opetaia had several pictures taken together.

New Zealander Parker and Australia’s Opetaia are two of the sport’s hottest properties, and while Parker has his sights on another heavyweight title, Opetaia’s long-term goals include moving up in weight and having big fights in Australia.

A contest with Parker would represent both, but Opetaia awkwardly fended off questions about a possible future meeting..

“Me versus Parker?” Opetaia said. “Oh mate, it’s honestly something that’s never even crossed my mind. Who knows?

“But at the moment I’ve got my own goals. I’ve got my own stuff to do.”

The two have never sparred. Parker is 32 years old, 6ft 4ins and fights around the 240lbs-mark. Southpaw Opetaia is 28, and 6ft 2ins.

“I’ve never actually moved around with him,” Opetaia added. “I’d actually like to move around with him – he’s a good fighter and I feel he’s just coming through this second phase. He was up and coming; he had a few losses, then he had to bounce back and now he’s bounced back really well, so he’s in a really good place at the moment. It’s good to see. I’m happy for him.”

Opetaia improved to 25-0 (19 KOs) with a repeat win over Latvia’s Mairis Briedis in May. Parker’s career resurgence has involved him scalping Deontay Wilder and Zhilei Zhang in his [ast two fights. Could Parker and Opetaia fill a stadium down under? 

“Who knows? That’s …” Opetaia pauses and smiles, still not at ease with the idea. 

“It’s the first time I’ve thought about it,” he continued. “He’s a good bloke. I’m not here to trash-talk him or anything like that. If it pans out that way further down in the future, I’d be happy to sell out a stadium with him. That would be huge. Especially two Pacific Islander boys coming from where we’ve come from, and then to sell out a big stadium in our neck of the woods would be huge. But, anyways, moving on …”

More likely as a next move will be Opetaia’s chance to add other pieces of the cruiserweight jigsaw to his IBF belt. The heavyweight division is something that will come in the future and he said of the prospect: “[It’s] further down the track. I’ve got some boxes to tick as a cruiserweight. I want to unify this division. I honestly believe I can. It’s just about getting these fights done, so I’d rather them come sooner than later. 

“We’ve got to get these unification fights and then you never know. We could go to bridgerweight then heavyweight, or straight to heavy. Who knows what’s in the future?”

Bridgerweight is a much-maligned concept, but Opetaia is not closing off any future options.

“Why not?” he said. “It’s another division, another title, three-division world champion. It sounds good.”