MICHAEL Zerafa will be looking to score one of the biggest upsets in boxing this year when he challenges undefeated former WBO middleweight champion Peter Quillin in Mashantucket, Connecticut this weekend.
A Zerafa victory on Sunday morning (EST) is considered to be that much of an improbability that Quillin has already agreed in principle to challenge WBA titlist Daniel Jacobs on December 5th at the Barclays Center in New York.
Quillin, 32, and Zerafa, 23, came face-to-face for the first time at the famed Gleason’s Gym and briefly exchanged words before being separated by DiBella Entertainment publicist Kevin Rooney.
Despite their brief confrontation, Quillin (31-0-1, 22 KOs) was relatively complimentary of Zerafa (17-1, 9 KOs), while admitting the pressure is on him to look good ahead of an agreed title tilt against Daniel Jacobs.
“I was just telling Zerafa when we faced-off that I’ve been in his shoes before and I know how it feels. No disrespect,” said Quillin earlier today at the media workout.
“He doesn’t have to tell me that he’s got nothing to lose, I know that.”
“I’m worried about looking good in this fight and doing what I’ve been working on in the gym.”
“I know he’s beaten all the best in Australia, but I’ve beaten the best all over the world,” Quillin continued.
“He’s not going to be in his backyard and have that comfort he’s used to.”
“We’re at a point now where I need to showcase my talent at this level. The exposure on NBC is great. We can be seen by so many people and build something that will last for years to come.”
— PBC (@premierboxing) September 8, 2015
The Craigieburn-based Zerafa will be fighting outside of Australia for only the second time with his lone career blemish coming at the hands of Arif Magomedov in Moscow, Russia last October in a close decision loss.
Having settled in New York with head trainer Joe Nader upon their arrival last week, Zerafa is hopeful his previous experience on the road will hold him in good stead.
“It’s been a good experience coming to the US for my first time,” said Zerafa. “It’s a lot of adrenaline and I have as we get closer to the fight and I’m just looking forward to fighting one of the best in the world.”
“It’s going to be an exciting fight and I’m going to give it my absolute all,”
“We know it’s going to be a hard fight and our team has trained extremely hard,”
“We have a great game plan and we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Although the fight against Quillin is easily the biggest of his fledgling professional career, Zerafa admits he knew little of Quillin – who has scored 14 knockdowns in his last six fights – before signing to face him.
“I didn’t know too much about Quillin when I accepted the fight but he is one of the best in America so we know that it’s going to be a hard fight and we’re going to make it a war,” Zerafa added.
“We’ll leave it all out on the table and the better man will win.”
“I feel good at this weight. I’m strong and smarter with less stress on my body,” concluded Zerafa.
“I’m feeling switched on and very confident.”
“There’s nothing to lose in this fight, I have everything to gain.”
Photo: Ed Diller/DiBella Entertainment