Melbourne looms as the venue for Michael Zerafa’s middleweight world title fight against Esquiva Falcao.
Michael Zerafa is set to fight Esquiva Falcao for the IBF world middleweight title – most likely in Melbourne – following confirmation that Gennadiy Golovkin will vacate the belt to take on Canelo Alvarez.
The highly anticipated third bout between Golovkin and Alvarez has been confirmed for September 17.
There was some doubt whether the fight would go ahead after Alvarez – the world’s undisputed super-middleweight champion – was beaten earlier this month by WBA light-heavyweight champion Dmitry Bivol.
Mexico’s Alvarez had the option of exercising a rematch clause but has instead decided to drop back down to the super-middleweight division to defend his undisputed status against Golovkin.
It means that Golovkin will vacate his middleweight title, paving the way for the IBF division’s top two contenders – Brazil’s Falcao (29-0) and Australia’s Zerafa (30-4) – to fight for the belt.
A thrilled Zerafa said his manager and trainer Sam Labruna would finalise the details of the bout with Top Rank chief executive and American promoter Bob Arum this weekend.
“We’ve had to overcome a lot of adversity to get to this stage in my career, but we’re there now,” Zerafa said.
He said the fight was likely to take place in September or October, and Falcao had already agreed for the bout to take place in Victoria.
“We’re bringing this fight home to Melbourne,” Zerafa said.
Zerafa had been considering an earlier offer to fight Jaime Mungaia (39-0); however, the undefeated Mexican has instead opted to fight Jimmy Kelly in a super-middleweight bout next month.
Falcao is due to fight Argentine veteran Cristian Rios in Brazil this weekend.
Zerafa – who demolished Issac Hardman last month in a world-title eliminator – said he was unsure whether he would have a fight before meeting Falcao, but his offer to go toe-to-toe with Tim Tszyu still stood.
Zerafa’s chance to fight for a world title had been set to take place more than two years ago after he beat Jeff Horn in August 2019.
But Horn’s insistence to activate his clause of a rematch ended Zerafa’s planned bout against Ryota Murata for the WBA middleweight title.
Horn won the December 2019 rematch, and Zerafa has been fighting his way back ever since.
“I’m a much better fighter now and much better prepared for a world-title fight – 100 per cent,” Zerafa said.
“I’m 30 years old now, I’m more mature, and I’ve worked hard in the gym in what I’ve needed to work on,”