Michael Zerafa vs Issac Hardman ULTIMATE GUIDE: Boxers pulled apart at fiery pre-fight weigh-in
Michael Zerafa and Issac Hardman fight at weigh-in press conference before world title eliminator fight
Michael Zerafa says he cannot wait to put Issac Hardman "to sleep" after punches were thrown as the weigh-in for their world title eliminator descended into chaos.
The pair had to be separated for the second time, after they also came to blows at a pre-fight media conference last month.
"Pretty Boy" Zerafa and "The Headsplitter" Hardman will square off in a high-stakes middleweight showdown on Wednesday night at the Melbourne Convention Centre.
The victor is set to take on Brazil's new top-ranked contender Esquiva Falcao for the IBF belt, after unified world champion Gennady Golovkin opted to vacate the division and chase a third bout against Canelo Alvarez.
After a war of words at the Tuesday media session, the pair stood up to pose for photographs but Queenslander Hardman attacked Zerafa, clipping promoter Sam Labruna with a punch.
The bitter rivals traded a flurry of shots before being separated, with the staged weigh-in cancelled.
Hardman was escorted from the venue, with a member of his team involved in an ugly scuffle with an onlooker on the way out.
"He tried to grab me and he learnt pretty quick that's not what you do and he copped a few right hands and then my team jumped on him," Zerafa told AAP.
"He got thrown out and he's probably used to that, being in pubs all the time, that's what he does.
"I can't wait to go out there and actually put him to sleep."
Zerafa, whose record is 29-4 (with 18 knockouts) said he had not encountered such pre-fight antics before.
Hardman is a former MMA fighter whose record stands at 12-0 (with 10 knockouts) since switching full-time to boxing.
"It just shows he's intimidated, he's too emotional," the 30-year-old Zerafa said.
"He's an absolute animal with no respect and no class, it's pretty disappointing."
Before things turned physical, Hardman said his preparation for the biggest fight of his career had been spot on.
He said he'd spent time training with star light middleweight Tim Tszyu, who Zerafa was scheduled to fight last year before a bizarre late withdrawal.
"I was doing 10 rounds before I was even in the training camp with Tim Tszyu, which is who this coward ran away from," the 25-year-old said.
"It's been good, there's been 11 different training partners over the 10 weeks, so the variety has been unreal and it's going to show.
"I'm going to walk straight up to this man and bounce my gloves off his head."
It's no secret that Issac Hardman and Michael Zerafa don't like each other, and the feud somehow reached another level at Tuesday's pre-fight weigh-in.
CCTV footage of the event shows Hardman taking exception to something that was said, and the pair having to be dragged apart as punches are exchanged.
The weigh-in has been re-scheduled for Tuesday evening.
The pair face off tomorrow night, with the winner receiving the biggest fight of their career so far.
What's on the line for Hardman and Zerafa?
The winner will fight the No.1 ranked contender, Brazil's Esquiva Falcao, for the Gennadiy IBF Middleweight title belt that was vacated by Gennady Golovkin.
When is Hardman v Zerafa?
The pair will fight in Melbourne's Convention and Exhibition Centre on Wednesday, April 20, with the undercard starting from around 5pm.
"He would like it to be fake, and then we can be friends after - he tried to do that at the press conference - but that's not how I was brought up. If you say certain things, you stand by it," Hardman said.
"I do not like this guy - just the sight of him makes me want to punch the blood from his nose. He lacks the qualities of a good man; no integrity, he flips on his word, he says one thing and does another."
Who will win Hardman v Zerafa?
Known as 'Headsplitter', Hardman is undefeated since switching from mixed martial arts to boxing in 2017, he is 12-0, including four wins in the past 12 months alone. Zerafa is one of the most-respected boxers in the Australian scene, with a 29-4 record as a professional, including a recent TKO victory over Anthony Mundine, which ended in 'The Man' retiring from the sport.
Mundine retires after brutal KO
Hardman is currently $1.54 to win the fight on Sportsbet, and Zerafa $2.37
When will the winner fight for a world title?
Nothing is set in stone in terms of either dates or location, but Hardman has expressed his desire for a fight in his hometown of Brisbane, should the Brazilian be willing to fight in Australia. With an American fight highly unlikely, there's every chance that one of the two fighters will be granted some sort of home-ground advantage.