Exclusive: Meet Michael Hunter, The ‘Most Underrated Heavyweight Boxer’
If you search Michael Hunter’s name on YouTube, the first suggested video is titled “Michael Hunter | The Most Underrated Heavyweight Boxer.”
It has over 150,000 views and over 300 comments agreeing with the title.
But on Friday, Hunter smiled and told FIGHT SPORTS he’s not going to agree or disagree with the statement. He’ll let the fans decide.
Hunter (20-1-1, 14 KOs) is currently the No. 2 ranked WBA heavyweight, sharing the list with the division’s biggest names like Tyson Fury and Anthony Joshua. The 33-year-old said his placement in the ranking is fair, but if it was up to him, he’d already be No. 1 or have his shot at becoming No. 1.
“I think that’s soon to come,” he said.
The American boxer, as of November 2020, is ranked as the world’s seventh best active heavyweight by BoxRec, sixth by the Transnational Boxing Rankings Board and eighth by the Ring magazine.
Hunter’s sole loss was served by current unified WBA, IBF, WBO and IBO heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk back in April 2017.
He said if he were to ever meet the Ukrainian boxer in the ring again, it’d be a different story because he has more experience now and is a different fighter as a heavyweight rather than a cruiserweight.
But Hunter knows of Usyk’s capabilities. Prior to the Joshua-Usyk fight, Hunter warned British boxer Joshua of his opponent.
After Usyk snatched Joshua’s straps, Hunter took to Twitter, hinting at a desired rematch with Usyk.
Hunter v Usyk II
— Michael Hunter ll (@MichaelHunterII) September 25, 2021
But in the meantime, Hunter, of Las Vegas, but born in California, said he’s been training. Typically, he does three different types of workouts per day.
He’s recently coming off an August TKO win over Mike Wilson for the vacant WBA Continental Americas heavyweight title. Since losing to Usyk, Hunter has been on an eight-fight winning streak, including a split draw to Alexander Povetkin.
But before his eight-year-old professional boxing career, his introduction started with his father, Mike Hunter.
“I was daddy crazy,” Hunter said. “I had to get in the gym with him and I just really wanted to be like my dad to be honest.”
His father competed in the sport during the early-to-mid 1990s. He was known for his boxing style and good defense. He won the USBA heavyweight title and the WBC Continental Americas cruiserweight title.
His father died on February 8, 2006.
Today, Hunter – whose name is Michael Hunter II – is continuing his father’s legacy and is looking to fight again sometime early November in Madison Square Garden in New York. Of his goals, he’s aiming to become a true “people’s champ.”
“I’m constantly trying to reply [to fans] on my social media and be really personal…,” Hunter said. “If I could touch just a few people personally, it means a lot to me than a big crowd – that will come with time.”
And his personality, or aspirations, can be linked to his favorite rapper Nipsey Hussle.
Hussle was known for using his music to influence community activism and brotherhood. He died on March 31, 2019 – a death that heavily affected Hunter.
Hunter added that it was ironic that when Hussle died, he was at the Staples Center and when Hunter met Hussle in person – when he was an upcoming rapper – it was at the Staples Center.
Today, Hunter still listens to Hussle’s music while he’s training, and he’ll mostly likely continue to as he prepares for his next fight.