Oleksandr Usyk’s lack of knockouts and his desire to “protect himself at all times” means senior heavyweights won’t show him “respect,” says Michael Hunter.
Undefeated Usyk beat Hunter on his way to becoming the undisputed cruiserweight champion and has now entered the Premier League, where he is the mandatory WBO challenger in the belt held by Anthony Joshua.
Usyk has beaten Derek Chisora and is negotiating a fight with Joe Joyce, but his physical attributes won’t make him like champions, according to Hunter.
“He’s a heavyweight in his own right. He’s taller than me,” Hunter told Sky Sports. “He’s a little heavyweight in his own right, but I think it’s going to be very difficult for Usyk to get heavy fights.
“I think the other heavyweights don’t see him as a heavyweight.
“Another thing that I think he’s going to have a problem with in [the heavyweight division] do people want to see [fighters] get knocked out and knocked off the canvas.
“It doesn’t do any of these or doesn’t have any of these components.
“Even like me, I’m more of a boxer-puncher, I’m going to step in, or go ahead and get the knockout. Go beyond just protecting yourself at all times.
“That’s one thing I don’t think he can do, is because he’s really a pure boxer. Being a fighter and trying to do that at heavyweight, I think that’s going to set you up for it. failure.
“I thought Joe Joyce’s fight was probably the right path for him. The only path I can really see going.”
Since his only career loss to Usyk, Hunter has also moved to the heavyweight division where he stopped Martin Bakole, edged out Sergey Kuzmin and secured a draw with Alexander Povetkin.
Hunter is in talks with Filip Hrgovic about an IBF final eliminator that would position the winner as Joshua’s mandatory title challenger.
Hunter continued of Usyk, “I don’t see him, other than getting a proxy, and someone he can probably easily send.
“But no one will really respect him. He won’t get these big fights.
“None of the big guys want to lose with a brush and don’t know how to come back in the next fight and fix it.”
Conor Benn fights Samuel Vargas on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports.