Australian boxer Michael Zerafa has threatened to knock out a television presenter, with tongue firmly in cheek, ahead of his long-awaited return to Main Event this month.
Last year, Zerafa became public enemy No. 1 after pulling out of his highly-anticipated bout with boxing phenom Tim Tszyu due to concerns over Covid-19 restrictions.
At the time, promoter No Limit Boxing he’d never be given another opportunity.
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“We knew from the moment he looked Tim in the eyes at the press conference and went quiet that he never wanted this fight,” George Rose, chief executive of No Limit, said at the time.
“I knew it. Tim knew it. Australia knew it.
“He never wanted this fight and all I can say is I’m sorry for everyone who has wanted this fight for so long.”
But on Wednesday, Zerafa announced that he would return to Main Event on a No Limit Boxing show, fighting undefeated Italian Danelo Creati as the co-main event for Paul Gallen’s rematch against Queensland rival Justin Hodges.
At the Sydney-based press conference, Main Event presenter Ben Damon couldn’t resist sledging the 30-year-old about his bombshell withdrawal from 15 months earlier.
“You gonna turn up this time?” Damon asked.
Zerafa responded: “That’s a low blow that one, but I’ll definitely be turning up, and one I knock out Creati, I might have to knock you out.”
Damon continued: “Don’t be like that Michael.”
Zerafa quipped: “I might have to continue the bout. Once I continue the bout, I might have to continue a few more rounds with you.”
Creati, who boasts an 8-0 record and more than 100 wins as an amateur, declared he was going to put Zerafa in “intensive care” when they face off in Sydney on November 23.
“As soon as I start to stare in his eyes I went inside his soul and this is where he starts to smile and talk s***,” the 33-year-old said.
“My job is to make him look like a fool and literally a clown because he’s never fought somebody like me.
“I’m so slick, I’m too slick for him. He won’t catch me. I still have my nose straight after 20-years of boxing, 145 amateur fights and eight as a pro.
“He doesn’t know nothing, that’s why I’m laughing inside because I love that he’s over-estimating me.
“Good luck to Michael because it’s going to be a big surprise for everybody.”
Speaking about his infamous withdrawal, for which he was universally condemned, Zerafa claimed his management group lied to him.
“Sadly, I had the wrong team in my corner,” he said.
“They did a lot wrong by me.
“I was lied to.
“I can’t go into it here but things were said, promises were made — and it was all false.
“I only found all this out a few months ago, too.
“But had I been given the right information, I wouldn’t have done what I did.
“It’s been tough but time heals everything.
“There were a lot of things said and promised and it was a messy part of my career but we’re here now and everything happens for a reason.
“That fight will happen eventually but at the moment I’m just focused on Danelo.”
The WBA currently have Zerafa ranked as the number one middleweight contender in the world.