Michael Hunter Explains Why Turning Down the Fight Against Filip Hrgovic Was in His Best Interest
Any serious analysis of the heavyweight division should include contender Michael Hunter (20-1-1, 14 KOs). He is tough, durable, and one of the more skilled fighters in the division. Ranked #6 by the WBC and WBO, and #2 by the WBA, the man nicknamed “The Bounty” is on the cusp of a world title shot.
Despite his obvious fighting ability, he is not a fighter without controversy. In February of 2021, the IBF ordered a world title eliminator between him and fellow world-ranked heavyweight Filip Hrgovic. That purse bid was won by Matchroom Boxing CEO Eddie Hearn, in April 2021. However, Hunter decided to turn down the fight.
His decision was derided by fans on social media and boxing message boards. On an interesting side-note, Hunter was formerly promoted by Matchroom before parting ways in July of 2020. He has since signed a multi-fight deal with Triller in June of 2021
On October 2, he sat down for an exclusive with 3KingsBoxing. Asked why he turned down the fight against Hrgovic, Hunter gave his side of the story, explaining it was a matter of pure business.
IT’S BUSINESS, NEVER PERSONAL
“We’re in the business of boxing. I think Eddie Hearn/Team Sauerland was not working well with each other. They were trying to get deals with me on some solo tips. I just think that it was a bad business move. They talked Triller out of the purse bid.
Eddie Hearn was the only person to bid on that fight. They did a lot of extensions, they never emailed us. It was bad business. It was an easy one to call.
My original plan was to fight Hrgovic on Triller, but when Triller said they didn’t want to work and do any business with these types of people and wanted to do a deal with me personally, it was a no brainer.”
As a result, Hunter is unranked by the IBF. He feels Hearn and Sauerland had ulterior motives that were not in his best interest. Signing exclusively with Triller was the best move for him.
LOOKING OUT FOR SELF
While Hunter is considered a young 33, the clock waits for nobody. Pundits and fans will continue to speculate whether bypassing the fight against Filip Hrgovic was the wisest of moves. Still, there is one thing that Hunter wants to make clear: His decision to back away from the match had nothing to do with fear.
“It wasn’t that I ran from him. Nobody accepted the fight on the IBF. He ended up fighting somebody that was not even ranked… The thing is, Hrgovic doesn’t do his own business. So he has to wait and wait, and that’s why he was mad.
I’m not waiting for my career, I’m doing what’s needed. I’m doing what I need to do. I think that fight is still possible if Triller wants to put up the money to make it happen. I’ve had to do the same thing.
I’m a hard fight, high-risk, low-reward, call it what you want… the people that are in the industry kind of force people like me. We can only be dogmatic for so long.”
By: Michael Wilson Jr.