Michael Hunter vs. Alexander Ustinov on Nov.24
By Mike Smith: 2016 U.S. Olympian Michael Hunter (15-1, 10 KOs) will step to fight 41-year-old heavyweight contender Alexander Ustinov (34-2, 25 KOs) on November 24 on Matchroom Sport card due to 2012 Olympian Zhilei Zhang having issues with his visa.
This is a quick turn around for Hunter, 30, as he fought just last month in beating the hard hitting prospect Martin Bakole Ilunga by a surprising 12th round knockout. Illunga (11-1, 8 KOs) was favored to win the fight, but Hunter used his high volume punching attack to wear down and eventually stop him. It was a huge victory for Hunter.
The major question we don’t know is whether Hunter has had enough of a rest for him to get back into the ring for a fight against Ustinov. This could be another war. Ustinov hasn’t fought since last year in losing a 12 round unanimous decision to Manuel Charr. Ustinov was knocked down in the 8th round by Charr, and was beaten up by him for most of the fight. At this point in Ustinov’s career, he looks pretty well shot and not the fighter he was a decade ago. During Ustinov’s prime, he defeated the likes of Monte Barrett, Paul Vidoz and Denis Bakhtov. Ustinov is not the same guy he once.
A few years back, Ustinov was supposed to fight Tyson Fury, but the fight failed to happen after Tyson suffered an injury and had to pull out of the contest.
Ustinov, 41, might think he’s getting a break with Zhang unable to face him, but Hunter could be an even tougher fight for him. The high punch output by Hunter is going t be tough for the 300 lb Russian to handle. Ustinov has never been known for his ability to throw a lot of punches, and he could be asking for trouble in fighting a younger guy with the kind of fire power that Hunter possesses.
Hunter gave Oleksander Usyk one of his toughest fights as as a pro last year in losing a 12 round decision. Usyk attempted to stand and fight Hunter, but he soon discovered that he lacked the ability to keep up with his high work rate, so he ended up getting on his bicycle and boxing the second half of the fight. Usyk won by a clear decision, but it wasn’t the dominating performance that we’d seen from him in his previous fights. Hunter gained a lot of boxing fans with that performance. He showed the fans that he had the talent to hang with Usyk.