Michael Zerafa has hit back at taunts that he'll wind up in hospital after agreeing to a high-risk "keep busy fight" before taking on boxing superstar Gennady Golovkin for the Kazakh's two middleweight world titles.
Zerafa says he has "verbally agreed" to a blockbuster unified showdown with Golovkin, a former pound-for-pound world No.1, in Australia next March.
The 30-year-old admits he's taking a huge gamble stepping into the ring before that with the unbeaten Danilo Creati in Sydney later this month.
Zerafa (30-4, 19KO) and Creati (8-0, 1KO) will feature as the co-main event on November 23 at the International Convention Centre alongside Paul Gallen's boxing swan song rematch with fellow retired rugby league great Justin Hodges.
"Look, every fight's a risk," Zerafa said on Wednesday.
"I wanted hard fights. I had a list to pick from and he was the top guy on that list so I picked him."
Creati is vowing to shatter Zerafa's world title ambitions, claiming his long amateur career in his native homeland will come to the fore.
"I'm going to surprise everybody, once more," said the Sydney-based Italian.
"I don't really fear his long record. He has 30 fights with a few losses and he didn't really beat anyone good.
"So I'm really keen to show some boxing and to take him to school."
Asked about Zerafa's plans to take on the vaunted "Triple G" Golovkin, Creati said: "He's booking to go into intensive care against Golovkin. That's what he's booking."
Australia's world No.1-ranked middleweight contender had no time for Creati's bravado.
"He needs to start wearing two headgears. He's getting brain damage in sparring," Zerafa said.
"Seriously, he's knocked one person out in his entire career and he's talking a big game.
"But there's a lot for me to lose on this fight and credit to him. As much as he's talking a big fight, I wouldn't want to fight me. I'm a dangerous man. It's not going to end well for him."
Zerafa's big-stage return to Main Event is a stunning development 16 months after the Victorian was a controversial withdrawal from a scheduled super fight with fellow Australian Tim Tszyu.
No Limit Boxing's George Rose said all had been forgiven after welcoming Zerafa into the fold.
"It's grouse to be back," Zerafa said.
"Credit to the boys for putting me back on. I'm back where I belong - on TV - and back doing my thing."