After a brutal draw in New York, Australia’s Sakio Bika and American Anthony Dirrell will meet in California this weekend for a WBC middleweight belt.
The way Anthony “The Dog” Dirrell describes it, Australian champion Sakio Bika is an irritating, but predictable, obstacle in the way of the WBC super middleweight title and the big paydays that will follow.
“He’s taking food out of my family’s mouth – period,” Dirrell, who grew up in the depressed, crime-ridden industrial city of Flint, Michigan, and overcame non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2007, told AAP.
“You do that to me, I make it personal.”
Dirrell and Bika aren’t fond of each other.
In December in Brooklyn they fought a controversial 12-round draw, with both claiming victory.
They will return for the WBC super middleweight re-match on Saturday (Sunday 1100 AEST) at the StubHub Centre in Carson, south of Los Angeles.
Bika is the WBC champion and hoped to skip the re-match and unify the division by taking on WBA and IBF champion, England’s Carl Froch, but he says Dirrell will just be a minor road bump to achieving his goal.
Bika also says he’ll halt Australia’s recent horror run in title fights in the US.
“We need an Aussie win,” Bika said.
“I’ll be fighting for the Aussie people.”
The horror run began on July 26 when Tasmanian-born Daniel Geale was knocked out in the third round by Kazakh middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin at New York’s Madison Square Garden.
A week later Melbourne’s Blake Caparello was destroyed in the second round by Russian light heavyweight champion Sergey Kovalev in New Jersey and last weekend Queensland’s Jarrod Fletcher suffered a fifth-round knockout loss in Brooklyn to New Yorker Daniel Jacobs.
Dirrell, 29, says Australia should prepare for loss number four.
“Sakio Bika can’t touch me boxing,” Dirrell said.
“He can’t touch me at all.”
Bika is a veteran of big US fights compared to Geale, Caparello and Fletcher, with his last seven bouts in New York, New Jersey, California or Las Vegas.
The Cameroon-born fighter, who came to Sydney in 2000 for the Olympics and made it his home, was the aggressor in the first fight with Dirrell and he plans to increase the pressure in the re-match.
Dirrell isn’t concerned.
“He thinks he’s got a game plan, but it’s Sakio Bika,” Dirrell, younger brother of US Olympic bronze medallist Andre Dirrell, said dismissively.
“Me being a fighter up and coming, I change and can make adjustments, but he’s 35-years-old and can’t.
“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Dirrell has a 26 win (22 knockout), one draw, professional record.
Bika has a 32 win (21 KO), five loss, three draw pro record.
The fight will be aired in Australia on Main Event.