Callum Smith says the “best version of himself” is beating Artur Beterbiev as he bids to become two-weight world champion on Saturday in Canada.
Liverpool's Smith faces undefeated unified light heavyweight champion Beterbiev, who has a 100% knockout rate in his career.
Smith, 33, is the underdog against Beterbiev on home soil and says the champion's strength is not on his mind.
“The best version of me outperforms anyone in the world,” Smith said.
“I'm all for it. It's time. I'm ready to become a two-division world champion.”
Smith was a former super middleweight world champion with the only defeat on his record coming to multi-weight world champion Saul “Canelo” Alvarez.
Russian Beterbiev (38 years old) holds the titles of the International Boxing Federation, the World Boxing Council and the World Boxing Organization, and has 19 stoppages in his record, including seven clean knockouts.
One of those stops came against Briton Anthony Yarde a year ago in an epic penalty shootout match in London that saw Beterbiev convert in a difficult match to cause an eighth-round stoppage.
In a press conference on Thursday, Smiths coach Paddy McGirt said they were not “dumb” and that they were prepared for Beterbiev's intensity.
The press conference was held in English and Canadian French in Quebec, although Smith and Beterbiev did not speak Canadian French.
Beterbiev has made Quebec his home since leaving Russia and is also a Canadian citizen.
He offered little at the press conference, muttering prayers under his breath as it continued.
If he wins on Saturday, it will be his 20th professional win and he is expected to attempt an undisputed fight against WBA (super) champion Dmitry Bivol.
No bout between the two champions took place last year in what would be the first undisputed light heavyweight championship fight of the four-belt era.
When asked what he should do next if he defeats Smith, Beterbiev replied: “Ask me after the fight, please.”
Smith faces a tough call in Canada – Analysis
“Monster” is the word routinely used to describe Beterbiev. It was brought up in the weeks leading up to his fight against Yarde and again when he overcame an impressive performance from the challenger to notch his 19th straight knockout.
But as Smith did his best to point out this week, Beterbiev has been dropped in fights before — Callum Johnson managed to — and he turns 39 next week.
The champion isn't infallible, but he's far from a one-dimensional knockout artist either. His fearless, aggressive attacking style is perfectly complemented by his extraordinary footwork and technical ability.
Smith has come up short in several of his big fights, most notably against Alvarez and local rival John Ryder, a fight that many felt was a clear win for Ryder despite the scorecards going the other way.
A move to light heavyweight has netted Smith two wins, and now he has been thrown in at the deep end after a 16-month absence against the division's most feared champion as close to home as Beterbiev hopes.
Does Smith have the tools to beat Beterbiev? He is unlikely to adopt the back-footed sharpshooter style of Yarde, a huge boxer himself.
Smith has his brothers Liam, Paul and Stephen with him in Canada for moral support and will certainly need the best performance of his career to dethrone Beterbiev.