Joshua vs Usyk prediction: Heavyweight unleashes shockerHot
Heavyweight boxer Michael Hunter recently spoke with BoxingNewsOnline.net and shared some interesting tidbits and perspectives as he trains in London for his October 13 bout with Martin Bakole Ilunga (11-0).
The son of 1990s legendary heavyweight journeyman Mike 'The Bounty' Hunter, Michael II participated on the 2012 US Olympic team and is 14-1, 9 KO as a pro.
Hunter, of course, also faced Olympic gold medalist Oleksandr Usyk (15-0, 11 KO) last year for the WBO cruiserweight title, dropping a unanimous decision after a spirited effort.
If I had the chance I would have fought him [Usyk] the next day," Hunter told BoxingNewsOnline.net.
"I would say come back here and meet me tomorrow and see if we can handle this."
"I got a lot of experience from that."
Given Hunter and Usyk are now heavyweights, a rematch isn't out of the question. However, it may not happen soon as Usyk is being groomed for a title shot, and fans are already starting to talk about a potential fight between Oleksandr and unified heavyweight champion Anthony Joshua.
Joshua vs Usyk prediction
So, who would Hunter favor if Usyk and Joshua squared off?
"I think he would beat Joshua, without a doubt. I think he would outbox him and beat him on points very easily."
Easily? Even in the UK?
"I think, even in England. This guy has a lot of experience. Even though these guys are very big, we're used to fighting big guys."
"He had two or three hundred amateur fights."
For good measure, Usyk's amateur record was 335-15.
"He's fought all over the world, he's fought in the Olympics, being in the big crowd is not going to be a problem for him and I think it would end up reversing on Anthony Joshua, the pressure would end up flipping on Anthony Joshua when they get in the ring," Hunter said.
"When they get in there, I think Usyk will know how to turn the crowd on him. [They'll] boo, you know what I'm saying, because he's not really hitting with big shots but he's winning the rounds."
That stated, Hunter doesn't expect Usyk will get a title shot easily because he believes Usyk's technical, pile-up-the-points style won't allow him to generate tremendous buzz. That, combined with a lack of mainstream recognition will make him too much risk for the reward for top heavyweights, according to Hunter.
"I know he's going to have probably some difficult times (as a heavyweight) getting fights because he's not a big puncher. He's more of a strict boxer."
"He's going to get fights because he has the backing and stuff but I don't think he's going to get the big, big fights that he wants. There's a lot of fights Anthony Joshua could take instead of fighting him. He's not going to be a big, big money fight in that way."
... But if Usyk is a mandatory opponent, AJ will have to face him. In fact, Joshua is facing a difficult mandatory opponent later this month in Alexander Povetkin.
The undisputed cruiserweight champion, Usyk has fought twice this year defeating Murat Grassiev (then 26-0) and Mairis Briedis (then 23-0). A southpaw, he also boasts wins over long-reigning beltholder Marco Huck (then 40-4-1) and Krzysztof Glowacki (then 26-0).
Former cruiserweight and Sky Sports commentator Johnny Nelson insists Oleksandr Usyk gave former heavyweight world champion Wladimir Klitschko great difficulty when the latter was brought into Wlad's camp to help Klitschko prepare for his 2015 showdown with Tyson Fury.
"I rate Usyk. When I saw him sparring with Wladimir when Wladimir was preparing for Tyson Fury, I said 'Who is that guy? Who is he?." Nelson told BehindTheGloves earlier this year.
"He did one round with Wladimir, and Wladimir slung him out and said, 'Get out, Not while the press is here.'
"He was making it hard for Wladimir. He was like bossing Wladimir."
"Get him out. Get somebody else in," Nelson said.