Joshua vs Ruiz Jr: Michael Hunter to earn Anthony Joshua fight after being considered for New York bill
Watch AJ-Ruiz Jr, Katie Taylor's undisputed world title fight, Callum Smith's world title defence on June 1, live on Sky Sports Box Office
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 23/05/19 2:05pm
Michael Hunter intends to earn his world title shot at Anthony Joshua after coming close to being confirmed as a replacement opponent for the British star's US debut.
The American was included on a shortlist for Joshua before Andy Ruiz Jr was named as the next challenger for the WBA 'super', IBF and WBO heavyweight champion at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on Sky Sports Box Office.
Hunter confirmed that he did not receive formal terms after original foe Jarrell 'Big Baby' Miller failed a drug test, but hopes to force his way back into contention, starting with this weekend's fight against Fabio Maldonado in Maryland, live on Sky Sports.
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He told Sky Sports: "They were close to using me, because they couldn't find the right representative, and I think I would have been the right representative, but they found somebody better suited, Andy Ruiz.
"He's no slouch and he's definitely a worthy opponent, whatever people think of him.
"Eventually once I keep winning and getting better, eventually I'm just going to rise to the top on my own.
If I do get it, it will be because I earned it, and I took it from them.
"To get it like the way I was going to get it, with the mishap of the 'Big Baby' situation, I don't think I'll get that opportunity again.
"If I do get it, it will be because I earned it, and I took it from them."
The Las Vegas-based 30-year-old is open to a return to Britain after last year's stoppage victory over Martin Bakole in London, which was followed by another knockout of Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo.
But Hunter admits he must firstly defeat Brazil's Maldonado and then intends to take his seat at ringside to watch Joshua.
"That's the whole reason we're here is to make statements," said Hunter. "The guy has never been stopped, he has only two losses, and the two guys that fought him were undefeated fighters, so there is a statement for me to make out there on this fight.
"The win for me I feel is not just getting the 'W', but getting the 'W' in great fashion, and that's what I plan to do."
Asked about attending the Joshua fight, he added: "I'll definitely be in the building."
Watch Anthony Joshua's US debut against Andy Ruiz Jr, Katie Taylor's undisputed world lightweight title fight, Callum Smith's first world title defence and the undercard at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1, live on Sky Sports Box Office.