Is Michael Hunter Eddie Hearn’s ace in the hole against Anthony Joshua?
If there was a time promoter Eddie Hearn needed the services of heavyweight contender Michael Hunter, it would be now.
Last week, Matchroom Boxing announced the signing of Hunter to a promotional contract. The 30-year-old Hunter now lives and trains in Las Vegas.
Hunter is scheduled to fight on the undercard of the Aleksandr Usyk-Carlos Takam fight at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland on May 25.
It was announced on Tuesday evening that Jarrell Miller tested positive for GW1516, a banned substance listed on the World Anti-Doping Agency’s site. Dan Rafael of ESPN was the first to report the news.
Miller is scheduled to fight unified heavyweight titleholder Anthony Joshua on June 1 at Madison Square Garden, in New York City, on DAZN. That fight could be in jeopardy as the New York State Athletic Commission may suspend Miller for the positive test.
Hearn stated last night that a handful of fighters are being considered to replace Miller, including Hunter, Luis Ortiz, Kubrat Pulev and Manuel Charr.
Hunter (16-1, 11 knockouts) would jump at the opportunity to face Joshua as he is already in training for the May 25 fight. He even tweeted at Hearn on Tuesday night.
“Call me, Eddie,” Hunter quote-tweeted to the announcement Hearn made that evening regarding Miller’s “adverse finding.”
Call me Eddie. https://t.co/1ck4qYJA19
— Michael Hunter ll (@MichaelHunterII) April 17, 2019
In his most recent bout on November 24 in Monaco, Hunter stopped Alexander Ustinov in the ninth round. Hunter has won his last four bouts since his loss to Usyk in April of 2017, a fight in which Hunter gave a solid account of himself.
Hearn is high on Hunter and recognizes his upside.
“He boxed Ustinov on our Monaco show,” Hearn told RingTV.com last Friday. “He’s fearless. He’ll fight anyone. He’s awkward. He’s a little bit fast. He’s rugged. He’s very durable. I like him. I think he’s a dark horse. He takes a good shot. I’ve seen him get hit hard by the heavyweights. He’s exciting.”
Hunter has sparred Joshua several times in England. It would be interesting to see if Hearn would offer the Joshua fight to Hunter, despite the number of times both have sparred each other.
Still, Hearn is pleased with Hunter and what he could bring against other heavyweights under the Matchroom Boxing banner in a growing and competitive division.
“I think Michael is a great underdog signing,” Hearn said. “He boxed (and defeated) Martin Bakole (on October 13), who’s not that well-known in (the United States) but he’s a very good heavyweight. He has sparred hundreds of rounds with ‘A.J.’, who ranks him high.”
Francisco A. Salazar has written for RingTV.com since October of 2013 and has covered boxing in Southern California and abroad since 2000. Francisco also covers boxing for the Ventura County (California) Star newspaper, BoxingScene.com and FightNights.com. He can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @SalazarBoxing.
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