Michael Hunter leaves Matchroom Boxing
By Barry Holbrook: Heavyweight contender Michael Hunter has left Matchroom Boxing after the company chose not to renew his contract following his controversial 10 round draw against Alexander Povetkin last December.
Hunter, 31, is now a free agent and available for any promotional company to sign. With his kind of talent, it won’t be surprising to see him getting signed by the likes of Top Rank or Golden Boy Promotions in the U.S.
It’s an odd move on Matchroom’s part not to resign Hunter, as he’s one of their better heavyweights. Matchroom promotes domestic level fighters like David Allen and David Price.
Those are guys that Hunter would likely have few problems beating. However, those are British heavyweights, and they have a large following of fans despite them not being world level like Hunter.
The 2012 U.S. Olympian Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs) plans on returning to the ring in September. Hunter hasn’t said who he plans on fighting. He’ll need a promoter for him to get a fight, so it’s a wait and see.
Hunter’s best win of his career thus far is a 10th round knockout win over Martin Bakole in 2018. Bakole is one of Matchroom’s fighters. It’ll be interesting to see if they let him go too.
No bitterness on Hunter’s part
Hunter has no hard feelings. He realizes that Matchroom made a calculated decision, and we’ll see if the move comes back to bite them in the backside. They wouldn’t be the first promotional company that made a colossal mistake in letting a talented fighter go.
Matchroom made the decision, which was likely based on their financial situation, not to renew with Hunter. Whether they’ll be slowly trimming their company down over time is unclear.
Matchroom has a lot of different fighters in their stable, which don’t appear to be going anywhere in terms of fighting or winning world titles. It might be a good idea for them to pare down the bloat and keep the guys that have a future and contribute.
“I’m working on a fight in September but I’ve parted ways with DAZN and Matchroom,” Hunter said Sky Sports.
“I’m putting that out there. And I’m basically a free agent now, and I’m looking for opportunities. I’m not sure where that’s going to lead me.
“I love Matchroom, I don’t have a problem with Matchroom. I like the company, but I think it wasn’t feasible for them to continue to allow me to be a part of their company, but not fully embracing the company. They had to make a decision where they fully embraced me or let me go
You can criticize Eddie Hearn for his decision not to pit Hunter against guys like Dillian Whyte, Anthony Joshua, and Filip Hrgovic. Hunter should have at least been allowed to fight Whyte. When you see Dillian facing guys like Lucas Brown, Mariusz Wach, and Oscar Rivas, it makes you wonder if Hearn was protecting him from Hunter.
Should Hunter be facing Whyte instead of Povetkin?
Hunter would likely beat all three of those fighters, but that might be the problem. Whyte is from the U.K., has a large following, and it would be bad for Matchroom if Hunter beat him.
What looks crazy right now is Whyte facing 40-year-old Alexander Povetkin next in August rather than Hunter. Many boxing fans believe that Hunter was robbed in his 10 round draw against Povetkin last December in Saudi Arabia.
That performance by Hunter was good enough for him to rate a fight against Whyte, but it’s not happening. Hearn with the older guy Povetkin for Whyte, and it appears to be a tactical move.
Povetkin is beatable and older, and Whyte has a better chance against him than Hunter. In that fight, Hunter almost knocked Povetkin out in the first round. The referee could have stopped it, but he gave Povetkin the benefit of the doubt, and he was able to make it out of the round.
“There’s no other way that Michael Hunter will get a title shot unless it’s a mandatory spot. I know that for sure,” said Hunter.
Hunter doesn’t have the popularity for him to be given a title shot in a voluntary defense, and he’s got a style that is too difficult. The heavyweight champions Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua would struggle with Hunter’s high punch volume and his combination punching. He’s one of those fighters that learn from the mistakes that other guys make, and he’s able to capitalize.
Matchroom making a mistake
In Hunter’s two fights with Matchroom, he beat Sergey Kuzmin and fought to a draw against Povetkin. When you compare Hunter’s performances against those two to David Price, who Matchroom is KEEPING, it just makes you wonder if they know what they’re doing.
Since they weren’t showing much inclination to use Hunter for in house fights against their guys, it is evident that he wasn’t going to be kept around for too much longer.
Hunter would do well against most of the heavyweights in the division. The guys that Hunter would have problems with are the taller fighters like Joshua, Fury, and Daniel Dubois.
Whyte would be a 50-50 fight, as would Oleksandr Usyk. Hunter lost to Usyk by a 12 round decision in 2017, but it was very competitive. Usyk was forced to get on his bike to run around the ring because he couldn’t match the work rate from Hunter.
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