Michael Zerafa has the last laugh after his second knockout of Issac Hardman in their middleweight boxing bout at the Melbourne Convention Centre, putting himself up for a world title challenge. Zerafa put Hardman to the mat with a left hook, and while the Queenslander recovered, the bout stops by the referee shortly after, with the 30-year-old throwing a barrage of blows.

Zerafa didn’t even require a bath. Within 30 minutes, he dressed and out the door, ready to begin his celebrations. With the win, Zerafa moves up to the world’s number two IBF contender and will face Brazil’s new number one challenger Esquiva Falco for the IBF title in Melbourne later this year.

Michael Zerafa battle

Michael Zerafa stated that the battle had gone just as planned and that he could see he had the advantage soon. After unified world champion Gennady Golovkin chose to leave the division to fight Saul “Canelo” lvarez for the third time, that opportunity arose. Zerafa hailed the “haters” for motivating him after his shocking late withdrawal from last year’s fight with Tim Tszyu drew widespread criticism.

Michael Zerafa said:

“Thank you, thank you, thank you to all the enemies,”

“I do these for you because I know you all questioned me. And I chose to come over here and prove to the world.”

In the initial exchanges, the Victorian veteran appeared sharper, landing some jabs while Hardman scarcely landed a strike. Despite the fact that Hardman eventually made a move, Zerafa was the clear winner of the first round.

The second lasted only one minute and twenty-seven seconds until it finished. Hardman objected to the referee’s decision and drag away to his corner by his teammates. But afterward admitted that boxer Zerafa had beaten him.

During the build-up, the two had a verbal spat, with Zerafa accusing Hardman of being a racist. When they had to be separated at the weigh-in, it became physical. Zerafa, who has a 30-4-0 (18KO) record, stated he knew he had Hardman’s phone number.