By Adrian Warren
Australian boxer Sakio Bika can't see how unbeaten American Anthony Dirrell can take away his hard-earned WBC super middleweight title and is committed to forcing his challenger on to the back foot.
On Sunday, Bika returns to New York's Barclays Center to make the first defence of the title he won there earlier this year.
Bika weighed in just under half a kilo lighter than his challenger.
Neither Dirrell or Bika have had a straightforward path to boxing success.
The 34-year-old Sydney-based Bika (32-5, 2 21 KOs), had to wait nearly 13 years and 39 fights to win a world title.
Dirrell's travails have come outside the ring, where he overcame a battle with cancer and a serious motorcycle accident.
The 29-year-old American (26-0, 22 KOs) has never had to go beyond eight rounds, whereas the Cameroon-born Bika has gone the 12 round distance on eight occasions.
Dirrell, has fought only 71 rounds in total as a professional compared to Bika's 226, with the latter having gone the distance in decision losses to superstars Andre Ward and Joe Calzaghe.
"He has no chance of taking my belt, because I've been there before," Bika told AAP.
"This belt is mine, I don't know how he can do it.
"He says maybe he can be the first person to stop me.
"I say `you can't'. Who has he fought?"
"He's fighting the real man."
Dirrell will have height and reach advantages, but Bika wants to see if the American can physically handle the pressure he plans to apply.
"I think the key to the fight is for Sakio to apply pressure and back Dirrell up and have him fighting back on his heels," Bika's trainer Kevin Cunningham told AAP.
"We can't let him use his distance and height, reach and range, We've got to put pressure on him and back him up and be in attack mode.
"I think if Sakio brings the pressure in the right fashion, he'll be victorious."
Dirrell said he had better skills and boxing ability than Bika.
"I'm really going to try and take him out. I don't want to leave it in the judges' hands," Dirrell said.
"I definitely think he's underestimating me, probably because I haven't had a lot of rounds.
"But I'm prepared mentally and physically and come December 7, the world will realise that I'm a champion and not just a contender."
Tags: Anthony Dirrell , Sakio Bika