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Opetaia ready

Monday, July 21, 2014

GLASGOW, Scotland - Gold medal favouritism has been embraced by Australian heavyweight Jai Opetaia at the Glasgow Commonwealth Games.

But the NSW southpaw is not so willing to talk up his other claim to fame — his family link with Socceroos legend Tim Cahill.

The 19-year-old admits his famous relative is a source of inspiration but Opetaia clearly wants to make a name for himself at Glasgow.

"I don't really keep in touch with him, people just like bringing it up," Opetaia told AAP.

"My uncle married his aunty so we are related but it's a big family.

"I don't mind it but I just don't want people to think it is something I brag about."

But Opetaia added: "It's great to see him do so well, he is such a massive name now.

"He's not just an inspiration for me but for everyone."

However, Opetaia has no problem promoting his gold medal chances after overcoming his London Olympic disappointment.

As Australia's youngest Olympic boxer at just 17, Opetaia went close to causing a huge upset before going down by a single point to No.1 seed and eventual bronze medallist Teymur Mammadov of Azerbaijan.

Opetaia said he would not be satisfied unless he became Australian boxing's first Commonwealth gold medallist since Brad Pitt and Jarrod Fletcher in Melbourne in 2006.

"Going home empty handed is not something I want to feel again," he said.

"Nothing less than a gold medal will make me happy."

Opetaia wants to fight on until Rio 2016 but Glasgow gold may fast-track his professional plans.

"Time will tell. If I get that gold medal and there is an offer I can't refuse who knows," he said.

The 11-strong Australian team — including three women for the first time at a Commonwealth Games — will all be out for redemption.

Australia had a disastrous Delhi 2010 campaign, failing to win a medal for the first time since Christchurch 1974.

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