Australias’ Michael Zerafa will move fulltime to a famed American fight gym in 2024 as he closes in on his showdown with WBA middleweight star Erislandy Lara.
In huge news for the fighter dubbed ‘Pretty Boy’, Fox Sports Australia can reveal Zerafa is headed Stateside next week to discuss his next move with both senior WBA executives and US manager Elvis Grant.
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Given the Aussie has already spent most of this year waiting on a proposed title showdown between Lara and Danny Garcia, he is now keen to move straight into the title shot for which he remains mandatory, saying “enough is enough”.
With all details surrounding the Lara-Garcia showdown still unknown, Zerafa will on Monday jet out for America and a series of business meetings alongside his agent, who doubles as founder and CEO of Grant boxing gloves.
The pair will, first, head to Orlando, Florida for the annual WBA convention before then flying into California and Zerafa’s new home, Brickhouse Boxing Gym.
As part of his 2024 world title push, Zerafa will spend at least a fortnight at Brickhouse before then returning briefly to Melbourne and Christmas with the family.
The 31-year-old will then head back to LA early in the new year to renew preparations for whatever is coming, most likely under the tutelage of Brickhouse trainer Julian Chua.
“And I’m ready,” Zerafa stressed.
“All this waiting around, it’s been a pain in the arse.
“But the delays have also made me hungrier, and I’m ready to go.
“I’m ready to bring a world title home to Australia.”
The Aussie added that he was also keen to start training with his new crew at Brickhouse – a North Hollywood training hub for both world boxing champions and UFC fighters.
“I’m ready to meet the new team,” Zerafa said.
“There’s a great group at that gym who have seen and done it all, led people to world titles, everything.
“Elvis Grant himself has had eleven world champions.
“And now I’m going to be his twelfth.
“Same with Julian Chua, a young gun trainer who has been in the corner of multiple world champions.
“But once I get over there next week, that’s when everything will be confirmed.
“Then after two weeks in the US, I’ll come home and finish this year with the family before heading back in early January.
“And I’ll be staying until that world title is around my waist.”
It has now been over a year since Zerafa last fought himself into what is now the No.1 WBA contender spot — earning a decision win over Italian Danilo Creati in November, 2022.
Despite becoming Lara’s mandatory earlier this year, he then stepped aside so a showdown between the champ and Garcia could take place in August.
That fight however, was delayed twice and has still never eventuated.
“When I first became mandatory, (US promoter) PBC came to us and said ‘look, we’ve already got this fight between Lara and Garcia organised’,” Zerafa explained.
“So while they respected me being the new No.1, they asked if I would give them the green light to have allow that other fight first.
“So I did.
“Because while I didn’t want to wait – I’ve wanted to be a world champion since first lacing up gloves — I also knew a ‘no’ from me was going to upset a lot of people.
“Plus, I was only going to be waiting three months.
“So I said ‘OK, do your thing’.
“But then the fight got delayed, then delayed again.
“It’s just got to the point where enough was enough.
“So that’s why I’m heading to the US next week, to see where things are at and start training with my new team.
“Elvis is already organising everything.
“I really want to get everything rolling so that I’m fighting early next year.”