If Oscar Rivas can’t get licensed in the United Kingdom, Michael Hunter wants the call.
Michael Hunter recently signed to Matchroom Boxing, and the American heavyweight is slated to fight on May 25 on the Usyk-Takam card in Chicago. Meanwhile, he’s aggressively thrown his name into the hat to replace Jarrell Miller on June 1 against Anthony Joshua, but right now the rumor winds on that seem to be blowing Andy Ruiz Jr’s way.
Matchroom has another big heavyweight card coming up, where Dillian Whyte will face Oscar Rivas at London’s O2 Arena on July 20. That fight is already being talked up fairly well, with Whyte noting that he’s facing a guy Tyson Fury turned down.
But as WBN points out, there are some potential concerns. Rivas (26-0, 18 KO) was denied a license in California back in 2016, when he was scheduled to face Gerald Washington on a Showtime card. He’s had several eye surgeries over the years, which delayed the former Colombian Olympian’s progression as a professional.
So when Hunter heard of the worries about Rivas, he chucked his name into a hat that really doesn’t even exist yet:
Call me @EddieHearn https://t.co/Ou9P6iOFRl
— Michael Hunter ll (@MichaelHunterII) April 24, 2019
I like Hunter (16-1, 11 KO) being so aggressive and getting his name out there, showing a willingness to step up quickly and fight top guys at heavyweight. He’s 30 years old and confident in himself, he wants the chances.
That said, back when California denied Rivas a license, he had only fought in Quebec, save for one fight in Washington state, which isn’t the biggest or probably best boxing commission out there. (No offense, Washington state commission.) There was reason to wonder about Rivas going forward; if California had denied him, would major commissions might all do the same? Was he going to be stuck in Quebec? (No offense, Quebec.)
But that was then. Rivas just fought in New York on Jan. 18, beating Bryant Jennings in an ESPN+ main event. I’m not saying that guarantees that the British Boxing Board of Control would pass him on the medical exams, but it’s not the same question it was in 2015, either. A major commission approved him to fight much more recently than one turned him down.
New York’s a big commission, have a reputation for being fairly strict. Then again, they may have a blind spot, if you will, on eye issues, as they passed Antonio Margarito for a rematch with Miguel Cotto back in 2011 despite the fact that Margarito looked like this:
Anyway, it might be a real concern, or it might not be, but Hunter is hungry, and he’s out here calling out people who don’t have fights, people who do have fights. This guy is saying he’s ready to go.