Insane toughness revealed in fighter's gruesome injury

Jai Opetaia felt his jaw "crack" when it was hit by a Mairis Briedis uppercut in the second round of their title fight.

He alerted his corner of the injury during the break after that round, but got to his feet and kept going.

Then in the dying stages of the bout - most likely in round 12, according to the doctor - the other side of the Aussie's jaw snapped.

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And still, somehow, Opetaia managed to stay on his feet and beat the Latvian champion via a unanimous decision at the Gold Coast Convention and Exhibition Centre.

It's a victory that instantly enters the folklore of Australian sport. Just as Jeff Horn did five years earlier to the day, when he beat Manny Pacquiao in front of 51,000 people in Brisbane to win his own world title.

Opetaia walked away with the IBF cruiserweight belt and the Ring Magazine title to boot.

The grisly injury only became obvious to fans inside the stadium during the last round. Opetaia's jaw was hanging and he was desperately trying to hide it from Briedis, who knew he needed a knockout to win the fight and retain his titles.

Jai Opetaia shows off his busted jaw after winning the IBF cruiserweight world title. (Supplied) Jai Opetaia shows off his busted jaw with his mother after winning the IBF cruiserweight world title. (Supplied)

The 27-year-old Aussie couldn't speak in the ring after being crowned champion. Not because the emotion overcame him, but because he couldn't move his jaw.

He did his best to speak to media afterwards inside a packed room in the bowels of the venue.

"I love these guys," he managed to say through the horrific injury, gesturing towards his team and his family.

Jai Opetaia on his way to the IBF cruiserweight title against Mairis Briedis. (Getty)

"(World champion) sounds good. It sounds good."

The doctor revealed Opetaia would be taken straight to a Gold Coast hospital, where he would be operated on as soon as possible.

For the new world champion, it's a small price to pay for writing himself into the history books.

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