Yafai vs Gonzalez: Michael Hunter hopes to face Britain's best heavyweights
US heavyweight Michael Hunter returns in Monte Carlo
By Richard Damerell
Last Updated: 23/11/18 12:22pm
Michael 'The Bounty' Hunter will pursue one of the 'bigger names' in the British heavyweight division if he defeats Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo.
The American made his UK debut in October, ruining the unbeaten record of Martin Bakole, and the 30-year-old seized the opportunity to step in as a late replacement to face Ustinov this Saturday night, with the British duo of Kal Yafai and Frank Buglioni also on the bill, live on Sky Sports.
A London 2012 Olympian, Hunter has been impressed by the progress of gold medallist Anthony Joshua in the professional ranks, and is keen to return to these shores.
"Yeah, I fought in the UK in the Olympics. That was a very monumental moment for myself," Hunter told Sky Sports.
Asked about fighting again in Britain, Hunter said: "That's what I plan to do. There's always Anthony. He's there at the top of the food chain, but any good fights that the fans want to see, because I'm a fighter and I'm prepared to fight any and every style.
"I'm looking for those big names, big fights and hopefully after this I can get some bigger names and big fights for myself."
Sparring sessions with then world heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko had prepared the Californian for his appearance at the Games.
"I learned a lot," he said. "That was me before I even went to the Olympics, getting ready for it, so that was definitely a confidence booster.
'I gained Usyk's respect'
Michael Hunter has called for a heavyweight rematch with Oleksandr Usyk after going "skill for skill" with the pound-for-pound star.
"Just to watch the way he conducts himself, in and out of the ring, during training. There's always certain situations that happen. Nothing goes perfectly during camp, but the way he conducted himself, and represented his team, taught me a lot."
Hunter was edged out on a countback defeat to Artur Beterbiev, the current IBF light-heavyweight champion, in the opening round at the Olympics, but recognised the raw attributes of Joshua as he triumphed in the capital.
"Back then, I just felt that he needed a lot more experience," said Hunter.
"He was fairly green, but he was big, strong, he played the part, and he got the job done. He's already done well for himself. He's at the top of the food chain."
Victory over the towering Russian this weekend would continue a busy heavyweight schedule for Hunter, who has racked up three victories since joining the division in April, and he is even willing to fight once more this year.
"Hopefully I'll be back in December, late December, early January," he said.
"The UK has been treating me very well. It's going to be hard to beat the UK fans. You guys fill up the arena, have a lot of energy.
"You can tell there's real passion in the UK for boxing. I'm looking forward to coming back as many times as you guys will allow me to."
Watch a huge night of action in Monaco with Yafai vs Gonzalez, Lebedev vs Wilson, Hunter vs Ustinov and Buglioni vs Meng, live on Sky Sports Arena from 7pm and Main Event from 7.45pm this Saturday.