Nisse Sauerland, co-promoter of undefeated Croatian heavyweight Filip Hrgovic, likes the idea of his client taking on American Michael Hunter in an eliminator for the world heavyweight title opportunity both fighters crave.
Hrgovic (12-0, 10 KOs) was last in action this past weekend when he made short work of Rydell Booker in Florida, scoring a fifth-round stoppage.
Hunter (18-1-1, 12 KOs), meanwhile, hasn't fought since battling to a draw with former world champion Alexander Povetkin on the undercard of Anthony Joshua reclaiming his WBA, WBO and IBF heavyweight titles from Andy Ruiz Jr. in Saudi Arabia last December.
That is slated to come to an end on Dec. 19 when Hunter ends his coronavirus-enforced absence on a Zurdo Promotions bill, headlined by "Zurdo" himself, Gilberto Ramirez.
Sauerland told Sky Sports that Hunter vs. Povetkin was very nearly Hunter vs. Hrgovic that night in Diriyah, but with Hrgovic looking to step up in terms of opponent quality and Hunter being left frustrated after repeated offers to step in to face Tyson Fury this year, the promoter believes the pairing should be reconsidered.
"The Hunter fight would be great," Sauerland said. "We've accepted it once before actually. I think that was Saudi Arabia, we had him offered to us, but he fought Povetkin which is totally understandable. Bring it on. Hunter is a good name. I rate him as a fighter because he takes on pretty much anyone and doesn't really back down, and it would be a great fight. I think Filip will be too strong for him, but the fans want to see it. It makes sense for everyone and it's a good fight for heavyweight boxing.
"For us, that would be an important fact that the fight is for something, and I think for Michael Hunter as well. After Filip's win on Saturday, I don't see why it can't be a final eliminator. Bring it on. From our side, we have got no qualms about fighting Michael Hunter, and it's going to be a great fight. We're ready, whenever."
It does appear that if both parties were able to agree terms to make Hrgovic vs. Hunter in the near future, one thing that wouldn't be involved is the WBA Intercontinental championship, which was held by Hunter until very recently.
The WBA made the decision to strip Hunter of the title due to inactivity, a move that has confused and frustrated many considering that boxing as a whole was shut down for almost six months by the COVID-19 pandemic and promoters continue to fight uphill battles to stage a reasonable amount of shows with zero gate receipts.
Independent for this fight. Don’t want to lose my rankings. WBA stripped me from I/C title for being inactive for 6 months when the world was shut down for 8. 🥴— Michael Hunter ll (@MichaelHunterII) November 12, 2020
Hunter remains unsigned by a major promoter, though Lou DiBella was quick to agree with Hunter on the WBA Intercontinental title situation.
“C’mon. Please. Stripping him is typical boxing f—ery,” said the Hall of Famer in response to a fan who agreed with the WBA's decision.
“So if he’s not contracted with one of the few promoters with a bubble paid for by an exclusive platform, he should get stripped mid-worldwide pandemic?
“Nonsense. Hate this kind of s—. Good luck in December,” he added.