Heavyweight Jerry Forrest 26-3 (20) insists he won’t be intimidated when he takes on Carlos Takam 38-5-1 (28) at ‘The Bubble’ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday night.
The 32-year-old southpaw was originally scheduled to face Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller before the New Yorker failed another drug test.
Forrest bounced back from his split decision loss to unbeaten Jermaine Franklin last year with an easy second-round knockout of journeyman Martez Williamson in September.
Takam represents a big step up in class for Forrest. The 39-year-old is experienced at the top level, having shared the ring with Anthony Joshua, Joseph Parker, Dereck Chisora and Alexander Povetkin.
Forrest admitted he respects Takam, but says he won’t be in awe of him on fight night.
“I respect Carlos Takam as a man, but I will have to hurt him and do what I have to do to win,” Forrest said.
“This is an amazing opportunity for me to fight on ESPN. I feel I’ve earned it, and I’m more than ready.
“The change in opponent was of no huge concern. Though Takam has been more active and is in better shape, he and Jarrell Miller have a similar style, so I didn’t have to change much in training camp.”
Forrest, from Virginia, has plied his trade almost exclusively in south-eastern USA after turning pro in 2012. Early in his career he dropped fights to Gerald Washington and Michael Hunter in back-to-back bouts.
Perhaps his biggest win to date was his eight-round decision win over Joshua Tufte in Lynchburg, Virginia in April last year.
Takam is a slight betting favourite at -155 to Forrest at +135.
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