Zerafa set for showdown with Hardman

The chance to fight for the IBF middleweight title awaits the winner of battle between Michael Zerafa and Issac Hardman.

Michael Zerafa is expecting more antics from “child” Issac Hardman ahead of the pair’s world-title eliminator battle in Melbourne on Wednesday night.

The winner of the Zerafa-Hardman bout will fight unbeaten Brazilian Esquiva Falcao (29-0) for the IBF middleweight title that has been vacated by Gennadiy Golovkin.

Zerafa and Hardman will come face-to-face in what’s expected to be a fiery weigh-in on Tuesday.

The pair clashed at a pre-fight press conference last month, with Hardman grabbing Zerafa by the throat.

Zerafa then threw water from a glass at Hardman before the latter knocked the glass away and smashed it.

“He thinks he’s scary,” Zerafa, 30, said before predicting further attempts from 25-year-old Hardman to intimidate him at the weigh-in.

“I wouldn’t expect anything less from him. That’s just what he does.

“I know his game plan. He’s done it to all his opponents. It just shows that he’s a child, and just shows his character. He’s got no brains and he’s got no respect.

“It doesn’t faze me. It shows me that he’s worried, and that I’m getting under his skin.”

Zerafa, who has won 29 of his 33 professional bouts, said his preparation for the fight at Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre had been close to perfect.

“I know every fighter says it, but at some camps previously I’ve had a lot of ups and downs, but this camp’s just been so smooth,” he said.

“Everything’s gone to plan, everything’s on track. There have been no injuries, no Covid problems, the sparring quality was excellent – we’re exactly where we want to be.

“A clear-minded fighter is a dangerous fighter, and I feel great. I’ve got a job to do on Wednesday night, and once it’s done, I can focus on Falcao.”

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