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Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5

Image: Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5

By Charles Brun: Eddie Hearn wants to see Michael Hunter get the title shot against WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury in his next defense on December 5th in the UK. Hearn feels that #10 WBC Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs) would be a good fight for Fury (30-0-1, 21 KOs).

As of now, #15 WBC lower-level fringe contender Agit Kabayel is the leading candidate for the fight with Fury, who has decided he didn’t want to wait a month to fight Deontay Wilder in January.  Efe Ajagba is the other name that is being considered by Fury.

Ajagba, who is an incredibly flawed heavyweight, is signed with Top Rank, as is Kabayel. Ajagba can punch, but he’s a mediocre fighter that struggles against journeyman level heavyweights.

Hearn thinks it’s a bad idea for Fury to take on Kabayel (20-0, 13 KOs) because there’s no money in a fight of that nature. Top Rank and ESPN can’t stick Fury vs. Kabayel on pay-per-view in the U.S and expect Americans to want to purchase that mismatch during the pandemic.

Obviously, there won’t be any interest in a fight between Fury and Ajagba, either.

Additionally, how eager would ESPN be to televise a mismatch like that? If you’re one of the top brass with ESPN, you’ve got to have huge reservations about Fury fighting another unknown heavyweight.

He already had two fights against Tom Schwarz and Otto Wallin before stepping up against Wilder. You don’t need another mismatch with Fury taking on an obscure heavyweight ranked at the bottom of the World Boxing Council’s rankings.

Hunter should get the Fury fight

Image: Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5

“I’m not so sure,” said Eddie Hearn to IFL TV about Fury fighting in December. “I don’t know. Who are you going to fight? Kabayel isn’t going to do any business.

“If he fights Michael Hunter. Rivas is a good fight. Charles Martin is alright. I’d love to see Hunter get an opportunity,” said Hearn. “When we were doing the AJ fight, it was between Hunter and Ruiz, and AJ approved both. We chose Ruiz.”

The 2012 U.S Olympian Hunter revealed that he beat Fury in the amateur ranks, and he would feel very comfortable fighting him again. Hunter doubts seriously that Fury will want to face him again because he’s looking for a soft job at this point to fight on December 5th.

Hunter has wins over these fighters:

  • Martin Bakole
  • Sergey Kuzmin
  • Alexander Ustinov
  • Iago Kiladze

The talented Hunter does really well against big heavyweights for some reason, possibly because of his combination punching and speed. Fury would have a lot of problems against a guy like Hunter. If that fight did take place, Fury would need to keep it clean and not throw rabbit punches as he did frequently in his rematch with Wilder last February.

Fury got away with a lot of punches to the back of Deontay’s head in that fight, which highlighted how referees don’t focus on controlling those types of shots for some reason. They emphasize policing low blows while ignoring the far more dangerous rabbit punches.

Hunter came close to beating Alexander Povetkin on December 7th last year in Saudi Arabia on the undercard of Anthony Joshua vs. Andy Ruiz Jr II fight.

The Hunter-Povetkin match was ruled a 10 round draw, but a lot of boxing fans had the 32-year-old Hunter winning. Boxing News 24 scored it for Hunter six rounds to four.

Why doesn’t Fury want to fight Wilder again?

Image: Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5

What is really peculiar is that Fury, 32, doesn’t want to wait an extra month to fight Wilder in January.

The money that Fury would make facing Wilder in January 2021 will obviously dwarf the revenue he’ll make from fighting a no-name heavyweight like Kabaye or AJagba.

Fury and his team act like they’re coming out ahead by not fighting Wilder again, which is a confusing stance to take. Where is the gain in taking a lower-paying fight against someone like Kabayel or Ajagba?

The average person would want the bigger payday, but it looks like Fury doesn’t care about money.

It’s interesting how Top Rank promoter Bob Arum didn’t seem to be bothered by Fury letting him know that he wants to move on from his trilogy match with Wilder and face someone else.

Would Arum be nonchalant if Fury let him know that he’s impatient and doesn’t want to wait until 2021 to Anthony Joshua? If Fury told Arum to forget about the Joshua fight because he wasn’t willing to wait for the fight, what would his reaction be?

Arum would be shocked, and he would try and talk some sense into Fury. That’s what Arum should be doing now because Fury is missing out on a big payday against Wilder by choosing to not fight him in January or February next year.

We’ll have to see what kind of revenue Fury’s fight against one of the five candidates brings in for his December 5th fight, but it’s not likely to be much. Hopefully, this doesn’t become a trend with Fury with him choosing to take on soft opposition to milk his WBC title against the low-hanging fruit in the rankings.

He’s got a contract with ESPN and Top Rank, and they obviously want to see Fury fight the next, not the worst in the WBC’s rankings.

How will Fury generate a gate against a no-name?

Image: Eddie Hearn: Tyson Fury should fight Michael Hunter on Dec.5

“Listen, he [Fury] just beat Deontay Wilder, so he doesn’t have to have a war,” said Hearn about Fury. “He [Fury] can have a little fiddle around if he wants. Just don’t get beat because we got to beat Pulev, and then it’s on [Joshua vs. Fury]. Where’s the money coming from?

“And if you don’t fight anyone of note, how do you generate the money? Maybe he just wants a runout and maybe he’s not bothered about money. It’s difficult at the moment.

“There’s no gate. He wants to stay active. He may only want to fight for a certain amount of money, and that’s going to be very difficult. Maybe he just wants a warmup for AJ?”

Hearn is asking an obvious question about where does the money come from if Fury fights an obscure heavyweight? It sounds swell for Fury to get a soft job for his next fight, but who is going to want to watch a garbage fight during the pandemic?

This is the time where Fury and all fighters should be trying to the best they possibly can. Will ESPN give Fury a boatload of money to fight someone that won’t bring in ratings? If you’re ESPN, do you pay Fury anything if he chooses to fight someone like Kabayel, Ajagba, or Charles Martin? I know what I would do if I was the guy calling the shots with ESPN.

I’d give Fury the minimum and no more if he chose an opponent that I felt wasn’t going to bring in ratings. But before that, I would give him choices by listing the heavyweights that I felt would bring in high ratings on ESPN.

Sorry, Kabayel and Ajagba wouldn’t make my list. I would be looking at Hunter, Luis Ortiz, Wilder, Oscar Rivas, and Daniel Dubois.

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Once fighters start making a lot of money, in a lot of cases you see them start cherry-picking and no longer taking risks.

Instead of the fighters facing the opposition they did in becoming popular, they take soft guys in fights that are more like exhibitions or sparring matches than real fights. Is this what we’re about to see with Fury? Has the money he’s made taken away his ambition?

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