Fresh from his upset victory over the previously undefeated Martin Bakole in London, Michael Hunter is focusing on the next mountain to climb. We are thankful, therefore, that he found time to give his thoughts on Oleksandr Usyk vs Tony Bellew, which takes place on November 10 at Manchester Arena.
Hunter challenged the Ukranian for the WBO cruiserweight title in April 2017. Following a knockdown in the final round and a clear points defeat, Hunter moved up to heavyweight and has yet to look back. The same can be said of Usyk who has since unified all four major belts at 200lbs, winning the World Boxing Super Series in the process. Now he meets Bellew, a former WBC cruiser champ who has crossed further over into the mainstream via his successive triumphs against David Haye, and Hunter emphasises the tough task the Liverpool man has.
“Usyk is a smart fighter, very safe and cautious, and it’s gonna be hard to beat somebody who doesn’t really worry about actually engaging,” Hunter reflects. The 2012 Olympian recently gave BBN a wide-ranging interview that can be found here.
“He can win a fight with his feet all day long. I expect a good tough fight but I think Usyk will be a little too much for him.
“I’ve never sparred Bellew but I’ve watched him over the years. He’s a good fighter and has a good chin too, so I don’t see Usyk stopping him, I just see him having a hard time trying to catch Usyk, and losing on a decision. Plus I have already heard him talk about retiring and this being his last fight, so that kinda tells you where he’s going.”
On his own time at cruiserweight, Hunter admits initially harbouring some regret regarding his not being included in the initial WBSS tournament, although he is very much over the disappointment now.
“I regretted them not putting me on the first time,” he recalls. “I was originally on the undercard of the Super Series first round but I felt I could have competed with any of those guys and I had just competed with Usyk. Once they did that… I knew I would go to heavyweight at some point and that’s where the money’s at anyway. I don’t really regret it.”