Heavyweight contender and number-one-ranked Michael Hunter is again the odd man out as a top event begins to come together in the United Kingdom.
Hunter, who holds the top rating spot with the WBA, continues to wait for a big fight after a triangle left him frustrated and again out in the cold.
Having seen two attempts to face Hughie Fury fall apart, “The Bounty” was offered the chance to trade blows with Jack Massey on the January 21st Chris Eubank Jr. vs Liam Smith bill.
As the American explained, he hoped for a more prominent name in the opposite corner. Therefore, he turned down the fight.
Former world heavyweight champion Joseph Parker, the foe Hunter says he would have accepted on the card, then swooped in to take the BOXXER offer.
The whole scenario left Hunter wondering what he has to do to nail down a top opponent.
“I denied [refused] to fight Jack Massey cause I wanted a bigger name opponent. [That] Bigger name [Parker] takes Massey.”
Adding further context, Hunter said, “Joseph [Parker] wanted a tune-up,” which delayed any meeting between the pair.
Martin Bakole was also chosen as a possibility for a rematch between the pair. Hunter said Bakole also., “declined to fight January 21st on Eubanks vs Smith Card.”
If he thinks he’ll be forty [he’s 34 now] by the time he gets another big-name chance, he added: “Yup and Dillian Whyte will fight me.”
Michael Hunter avoided
Looking at his record, it’s easy to see why some top-rated contenders are maneuvering away from Michael Hunter at all costs.
His only loss came against undefeated unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in a cruiserweight world title challenge five years ago.
The two draws on Hunter’s 20-1-2 C.V. remain the only blemishes since moving up. One of those, a clash with Alexander Povetkin, could be argued was a win for Hunter. The other, against Jerry Forrest, wasn’t as straightforward.
Forrest might have edged it on another night. As a result, many believe the manner of the draw caused Hunter’s stock to drop. However, looking at it in a different light, Hunter needs big names to get himself fully motivated.
Maybe facing Forrest didn’t do that for Hunter after going up against Usyk, Iago Kiladze, Bakole, Alexander Ustinov, Sergey Kuzmin, and Povetkin?
The next twelve months will tell whether Hunter can finally get that breakout victory that will transport him into contention for a world heavyweight title fight.
At present, he’s way down the pecking order until Daniel Dubois gets his opportunity as the WBA regular champion.
With the division set to become undisputed in the coming months, it will be harder for anyone other than the mandatory challengers to get their shot.
Hunter is in the right spot to possibly be fifth in line for the crown. However, it could still take two or more years to position himself.