On Saturday night as part of Showtime's quadruple-header from Brooklyn, Sakio Bika will make the first defense of his WBC super middleweight title, giving contender Anthony Dirrell his first opportunity in a world title fight.
Bika (32-5-2, 21 KO) won the vacant title against Marco Antonio Periban in June of this year, a 12-round majority decision on the last Paulie Malignaggi undercard. The 34-year-old Cameroonian-Australian, now training in St. Louis with Kevin Cunningham, isn't sure Dirrell (26-0, 22 KO) can back up his boasting.
"On Saturday, Anthony Dirrell says he is going to take the belt off of me. I am not so sure it will happen," Bika said. "I don't know if he can do it. I don't know if he has the balls to do it."
Dirrell, 29, was quick to point out that although Bika is surely the biggest challenge of Dirrell's boxing career, he is hardly the biggest challenge of his life.
"Come Saturday, it's destiny," Dirrell said. "I've been through a lot. Cancer in 2006. I overcame that. Motorcycle accident that broke my legs and hands. I overcame that. So Sakio Bika can't hold me back. This is meant to be and come December 7 it's over. It's going to be trouble for him."
Dirrell said he's looking to make a statement and that as always, he'll be hunting for the knockout, hoping that Bika will do the same. "He looks for the knockout, but doesn't get it every time," he said. "I'm going to be looking for the knockout so that's what's going to happen."
"On Saturday it will just be Anthony Dirrell in the ring," said Bika. "On Saturday Anthony will step in the ring and feel the power."
Sadam Ali and Marcus Browne ready for undercard bouts
Two unbeaten prospects will be featured on the untelevised undercards for this show, and both are looking to move forward and make their way to major TV in 2014.
Welterweight prospect and 2008 Olympian Sadam "World Kid" Ali (17-0, 10 KO) will be in action, facing Mexican-American Jesus Selig (16-1-1, 10 KO) in a 10-round bout. Ali factors into Golden Boy's big plans for Brooklyn moving forward, another hometown fighter that could become a local draw if he continues to win.
"I'm very excited for this fight. Second time fighting at the Barclays Center, my home, in front of my hometown of course," Ali said. "And look at the card we have going on, it's going to be so exciting top to bottom and I'm just ready to go out there and show what I can do."
Another New York fighter in action is light heavyweight Marcus Browne of Staten Island. Brown (7-0, 6 KO) was a 2012 Olympian, turning pro in November of last year. He's been good against very limited opposition, but he will face veteran opponent Kevin Engel (20-8, 16 KO) on Saturday, the next step up the ladder.
Browne, like Ali, is happy to be part of a solid Brooklyn card. "I'm grateful to be on this card. You've got guys like Paulie that watched me coming up in the amateurs," he said. "You've got guys like Zab that I watched coming up as a kid. So this is a beautiful thing with all of these other guys on this card. I mean it's a great card."