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 dust-up at the weigh-in is sure to boost interest in the fight between Zerafa (left) and Hardman (right).(AAP: Joel Carrett)

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.

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.

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.”



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