FightPost Boxer of the Week: Michael Hunter
By Michael Richards
Michael Hunter catapulted himself onto the heavyweight scene in October, stopping the then undefeated Martin Bakole, at York Hall. Bakole, a sparring partner of Anthony Joshua, who was much fancied to win the fight and win it well. Hunter had other ideas that night, boxing well and eventually stopping his opponent in the tenth and final round.
Interest in ‘The Bounty’ increased, with him more than happy to answer the call to replace Zhilei Zhang, who couldn’t obtain the relevant Visa in time to take on Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo on Saturday night.
The giant Russian is a formidable opponent, despite his robotic appearance. Standing over 6ft 7inches and 280lbs, beating him should have been a difficult objective for the much smaller Hunter. The fact he won every round prior to stopping Ustinov in the ninth round, tells its own story.
From the first bell, Hunter dictated proceedings, getting inside the huge reach of the Russian and landing his own hooks. Ustinov was never allowed to find any rhythm, getting caught time and again. The American chipped away, round after round, cutting Ustinov’s forehead in the process. He first hit the canvas in the eighth round, as Hunter unloaded a barrage of punches, before rising on unsteady legs, vaguely managing to survive the bell.
It was evident as he rose from his stool to start the ninth round that Ustinov didn’t want any part of what was remaining in the fight. Hunter sensed his opportunity and jumped on him, before his corner took mercy and threw in the towel.
Having only been defeated and stopped once before (by Kubrat Pulev), the scale of this victory should not be underestimated. Michael Hunter has gone from a blown up cruiserweight, to a heavyweight problem in the space of six weeks. That point’s defeat against cruiserweight king, Oleksandr Usyk looks better the more you watch Hunter.
Eddie Hearn revealed he is keen to add him to the Whyte vs Chisora card on 22nd December and why not. Charismatic, grounded and a threat.