Anthony Dirrell eager to punch his way back to the top of 168-pound division

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Anthony Dirrell has a date to check out the competition this weekend, but he has some business of his own to attend to first.

Anthony Dirrell

Former 168-pound world champion Anthony Dirrell is seeking his third straight win Friday night since losing his title to Badou Jack in April 2015. (Lucas Noonan/Premier Boxing Champions)

Dirrell is set to fight Hungary’s Norbert Nemesapati in a 10-round bout Friday at Hialeah Park Racing & Casino in Miami (Spike, 9 p.m. ET/PT). The former world champion will then fly to Brooklyn, New York, for Saturday night’s 168-pound title unification bout between Badou Jack and James DeGale.

“I’m planning on getting [Nemesapati] out of there early, so I’m looking for the knockout,” Dirrell said. “I’m going to be flying out to Brooklyn the next day to see James DeGale and Badou Jack. I’m looking to be the next guy in line for that championship, so I’m going to be at that fight.”

Anthony Dirrell (29-1-1, 23 KOs) will be seeking his third consecutive victory since losing his 168-pound title to Jack by majority decision in April 2015. A win over the 21-year-old Nemesapati (24-4, 17 KOs), who will be fighting in the U.S. for just the second time, would move “The Dog” closer to getting another title shot.

Dirrell, 32, has been idle since his first-round stoppage of Caleb Truax in Atlantic City in April. The Flint, Michigan, native also won a 10-round unanimous decision over Marco Antonio Rubio in September 2015 in his only other fight since losing to Jack.

“Anthony is looking as if he could go out there and repeat what he did in the Caleb Truax fight,” said Dirrell’s co-trainer, Javan “Sugar” Hill Steward. “He wants to get another sensational knockout that makes a statement to the division that Anthony Dirrell is back to being the man who won the championship.

“If [DeGale and Jack] aren't planning on watching, it would be in both their interests to do so, because they’re going to hear about what Anthony does."

As eager as Dirrell is to avenge his loss to Jack, he would be equally motivated to fight DeGale, who defeated Dirrell’s older brother, Andre Dirrell, to win his world title in May 2015.

“I want my brother to avenge his loss to DeGale if my brother has a chance to fight him, and I want my rematch with Badou,” Anthony Dirrell said. “But whoever has the title, I’m very eager to get in there for another shot at the championship.

“As brothers we have doubters who don’t think we’re good fighters and that we’re not exciting. But I want to make it known at 168 pounds that I can punch with any puncher and box with any boxer. Most of all, though, my main focus is getting that title back, and I won’t stop until I do.”

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