Unbeaten Deontay Wilder, robbed of his scheduled heavyweight world title defence against Alexander Povetkin in May, is ready to take his frustration out on challenger Chris Arreola on Saturday.
"I've wanted to hit somebody since May," said Wilder, who was training in Britain to face Povetkin in Russia before the challenger failed a drug test and the fight was cancelled.
Wilder, 36-0 with 35 knockouts, will be making his fourth defence of the World Boxing Council crown in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, and he was confident of making sure Arreola's third title shot wouldn't prove the charm.
"Does he deserve the title shot, no he doesn't," Wilder said of Arreola, 36-4 with one draw and 31 knockouts.
"But for this situation that we're in with the short notice, is he the perfect guy? You're right, he is," Wilder said.
Arreola had a win over Travis Kauffman changed to no decision after a marijuana positive and drew with Fred Kassi in his prior bout. He beat Curtis Harper 15 months ago in his first fight after losing a title contest to Bermane Stiverne.
"This is my third opportunity," said Arreola, who was stopped on his stool after 10 rounds by Vitali Klitschko in 2009 in his first title shot. "I can't let this opportunity slip away.
"I respect Deontay. But once the bell rings, it's time to go fight and it's time to get that title. I want that title."
After his fight with Povetkin fell through, Wilder saw Britain's Anthony Johnson retain his International Boxing Federation heavyweight title with a seventh-round knockout of Dominic Breazeale in June, while Briton Tyson Fury, who seized the World Boxing Association and World Boxing Organization belts from Wladimir Klitschko last year put off a scheduled July rematch with the Ukrainian because of an ankle injury.
Wilder said fitting in Arreola is a way to stay active in a quest to unify the title -- and a way to keep his mind off the legal wrangling that followed the postponement of the Povetkin bout.
The Russian, who tested positive for a trace of newly banned meldonium, said a second test showed he was clean and the two camps are now engaged in dueling lawsuits.
"This is the longest stretch that I've been out of the ring and I'm anxious to get back in and continue my quest to become the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world," said Wilder, who hasn't fought since a ninth-round knockout of Artur Szpilka in Brooklyn on January 16. "This is another fight in that process."
That said, Wilder insisted he wouldn't take Arreola for granted.
"When you're in the hurt business, you have no choice but to stay focused on the test that lies at hand because if you're not focused, you can get knocked out," he said.