While their male counterparts got into a rumble at their weigh-in, there was nothing but respect between boxers Cherneka Johnson and Mexican Melissa Esquivel despite a world title being on the line.
Melbourne-based Johnson and Esquivel had to dodge flying punches between Michael Zerafa and Issac Hardman, who will fight a middleweight world title eliminator at the Melbourne Convention Centre on Wednesday night.
Johnson and Esquivel are on the undercard, duelling for the vacant IBF world super bantamweight title.
Johnson’s only loss in her 13-1-0 record came 12 months ago when she was on the wrong side of a controversial split decision against fellow Australian Shannon O’Connell for the WBA gold bantamweight title.
Esquivel (12-2-1) comes into the fight on the back of a title fight defeat, losing to Erika Cruz Hernandez in a WBA world bantamweight title clash.
“I’ve been boxing for a long time now and it’s so exciting to finally get this opportunity to fight for a world title,” said Johnson, who goes by the fight name Sugar Neekz.
“I believe I deserve this shot … I don’t believe I lost my last fight so to fight for a world title here in Australia is awesome.
“I’m going in with full confidence and I can’t wait to bring it home.”
Johnson said she watched footage of Esquivel online and thought she had the fight game to triumph.
“I think I’ve got the better skills to bring to the night,” Kiwi-born Johnson said.
“She’s obviously a fighter and I respect all fighters who get in there and give it a crack.
“But I’m in the best shape physically and mentally, and I’m absolutely flying with my boxing ability going to the next level.”