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Hearn’s updated shortlist for Joshua’s June 1st fight

Anthony Joshua Andy Ruiz Luis Ortiz Michael Hunter


By Trevor McIntyre: Eddie Hearn has come up with a new short list of candidates for IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua’s next title defense on June 1st, according to ESPN. The new list is pretty much a continuation of fighters that aren’t going to bring much to the table in terms of attracting interest from American boxing fans.

Three of Hearn’s candidates – Manuel Charr, Trevor Bryan and Agit Kabayel – are so bad that one could argue that Joshua’s June 1 fight should be canceled or moved to the UK, as those aren’t big enough names to attract U.S boxing fans to come see the fight or subscribe to DAZN to watch it. Joshua needs a name guy for his next fight. That means Luis “King Kong” Ortiz. He’s easily the best name on Hearn’s list.


The new fighter on Hearn’s list is American Andy Ruiz Jr. (32-1, 21 KOs), who looked great last weekend in dispatching Alexander Dimtrenko in Carson, California. However, the 29-year-old Ruiz is with Premier Boxing Champions, and that could be a problem with him being used for the fight. As of now, Michael Hunter is STILL considered by many as the guy that will get the fight with Joshua if for no other reason than him being signed with Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA promotion.

Here is Hearn’s NEW short list for Joshua’s June 1 fight, according to Dan Rafael of ESPN:

Andy Ruiz Jr.

Luis Ortiz

Michael Hunter

Manuel Charr

Trevor Bryan

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Agit Kabayel

It’s unclear why Hearn keeps mentioning Charr’s name as a candidate for Joshua. Charr is from Germany, and he’s never fought in the United States. The only U.S boxing fans that are familiar with Charr are the hardcore fans, and they don’t think too much of him. If Hearn goes with Charr as a choice, it would be a situation where the DAZN and Sky Box Office commentators would be focusing on him being the WBA ‘regular’ heavyweight champion. Charr’s only selling point as an opponent or Joshua is he’s a world champion, albeit the World Boxing Association’s lower level WBA title holder. The sanctioning body has two champions at heavyweight. Charr won his vacant WBA heavyweight title a year and a half ago in defeating 40-year-old Alexander Ustinov. This is the same Ustinov that Michael Hunter recently knocked out in the ninth round last November. Charr hasn’t fought since his victory over Ustinov in 2017. Hearn would reaching low if he were to select Charr for Joshua’s opponent for June 1.

Joshua’s previously scheduled opponent Jarrell “Big Baby” Miller tested positive for banned substances in three tests conducted by VADA, so he’s out of the fight.

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It’s become tiresome waiting for Eddie to make his selection of Joshua’s opponent. Although Hearn keeps mentioning having a shortlist, it seems almost academic that he’s going to pick his own fighter, Michael Hunter, and use him as the replacement or Joshua. Hearn really likes the fact that Hunter (16-1, 11 KOs) fought for the United States in the 2012 Olympics. He thinks that makes him a great choice. Unfortunately, American boxing fans don’t follow closely Olympic competition like they used to in the 1970s. Hunter fighting in the Olympics was something most fans were unaware of. Hunter might as well have been invisible, because the casual fans don’t know who he is in the States. The hardcore boxing fans do. Some think Hunter is a decent fighter, but a lot of other fans see him as too small, too weak, and too fat to ever make a dent in the heavyweight. Hunter weighed in at 213 pounds for his last heavyweight against Ustinov last November. One would think that at a weight low, Hunter should look muscular. Wrong. He’s flabby at 213 lbs, and looks like an out of shape cruiserweight. That’s his old division, and he was a well defined fighter when he fought in that weight class. Instead of bulking up with muscles, it just looks like Hunter ate a lot of food and got fat and moved up to heavyweight. He’s not a big puncher, and he’s slower than he used to be due to the fat that he’s put on. Hearn would be doing Hunter a huge favor by giving him a title shot against Joshua, because he likely would never earn a title shot if he had to face a good heavyweight with power.

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