Michael Hunter and Filip Hrgovic on Usyk-Takam card on May 25
By Sean Jones: Promoter Eddie Hearn says he’s added 2012 U.S Olympian heavyweight Michael Hunter (16-1, 11 KOs) and 2016 super heavyweight Olympic bronze medalist Filip Hrgovic (7-0, 5 KOs) in separate fights to the undercard of Oleksandr Usyk vs. Carlos Takam on May 25 on DAZN at the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Hunter, 30, gave Usyk a tough fight in losing to him by a 10 round unanimous decision two years ago in April 2017. Usyk struggled with Hunter’s work rate, and was forced to use movement to beat him by the scores 117-110, 117-110 and 117-110. That fight took place at Oxon Hill, Maryland. Hunter is now fighting at heavyweight, and looking very good in winning his last four fights in beating Alexander Ustinov, Martin Bakole Ilunga, Iago Kiladze and Terrell Jamal Woods.
Hunter was seen as the underdog against the huge 256 pound Ilunga, but he ended up stopping him in the 10th round. Hunter used combination punching to wear down and halt the bigger man in the final round of their 10 round fight last October at York Hall in Bethnal Green. Hunter’s recent ninth round stoppage win over 42-year-old Ustinov (34-3, 25 KOs0 last November was also a surprise. Ustinov, 6’7″, is a very experienced heavyweight, and has beaten some notable guys in the past like David Tuas, Chauncy Welliver, Travis Walker, Denis Bakhtov, Paulo Vidoz, Monte Barrett, Jason Gavern, Michael Sprott and Maurice Harris.
Filip Hrgovic (7-0, 5 KOs), another DAZN fighter on Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing USA stable, has looked great since turning pro in 2017. The 6’6″ heavyweight Hrgovic has shined with victories over former heavyweight world title challenger Kevin Johnson, Tom Little, Amir Mansour, and Raphael Zumbano.
Hearn didn’t say anything about who Hunter and Raphael Zumbano will be fighting. Hunter has been talking tough opposition since he turned pro. He hasn’t been handled with kid gloves. His management has matched him tough in putting him in with Usyk, Isiah Thomas, Kiladze and Ilunga. Hunter would have arguably been a better option for Usyk to fight on May 25 than 38-year-old Takam, who has lost 2 out of his last 3 fights in knockout defeats at the hands of Dereck Chisora and Anthony Joshua.
The way that Chisora stopped Takam, it makes one wonder whether the France based heavyweight’s punch resistance has deteriorated since his stoppage loss to Joshua in October 2017. Hrgovic is still being matched weakly, and that’s not likely to change for his next fight on the Usyk vs. Takam card. Hrgovic has the Olympic experience, so he doesn’t need to be matched against lower level opponents. He’s capable of fighting good fighters and doing well.