Leading world heavyweight title contenders Hughie Fury and Michael Hunter will face off in a final WBA world title eliminator on Saturday, July 2 at the AO Arena Manchester, live and exclusive on Sky Sports.
The WBA has ordered that the winner of Fury versus Hunter will go on to challenge the winner of the upcoming WBA world heavyweight title fight between defending champion Trevor Bryan and British contender Daniel Dubois, which is scheduled for June 11.
The Manchester giant and the American dangerman will put everything on the line in this extremely competitive high-stakes showdown and, with the world title in sight for the victor, fireworks are guaranteed.
“I take the fights everyone avoids,” Fury said. “Michael Hunter has fought the best and is up there with the best. These are the fights I want to show who is the best fighter out there.
“I’m looking forward to this challenge. I believe I’m one of the best fighters in the world and this is another big fight to prove I stand with the top three in the world heavyweight division.”
On the same night and in the same venue, after the BOXXER event is finished, Ricky Hatton will face friend and fellow legend Marco Antonio Barrera in an exhibition match. Broadcast details for that event are still to be finalised.
Fury, currently 26(15)-3 and ranked at No 4 by the WBA, is fired up for his clash with Hunter and has been focused on a second world shot since September 2017 when his challenge for the WBO World Title, at just 23-years-old, ended in a controversial points loss to Joe Parker.
The 27-year-old, managed by Mick Hennessy, was in top form last October in Newcastle when he forced rugged rival Christian Hammer to retire on his stool after five rounds. Until then Fury was at his best, landing accurate jabs and uppercuts and forcing Hammer’s first stoppage loss since 2015 against his cousin Tyson Fury.
With Hammer also taking heavy punchers like Tony Yoka, Alexander Povetkin and Luis Ortiz the distance, the stoppage looks even more impressive on Fury’s record as he stakes his claim for a world title shot.
Fury is on an unbeaten three-fight run with victories over Hammer, Mariusz Wach and Pavel Sour since his points loss to heavy-hitter Povetkin in August 2019.
WBA No 2-rated Hunter, who comes into this fight with a 20(14)-1-2 record, has been swerved by many of the big names in the division and is targeting his first world heavyweight title shot after a points loss to Oleksandr Usyk in 2017 for the WBO world cruiserweight title. He will be aiming to cause a big upset by defeating Fury.
I take the fights everyone avoids. Michael Hunter has fought the best and is up there with the best. These are the fights I want, to show who is the best fighter out there.
Nicknamed ‘The Bounty’, Michael’s father Mike was a former fringe heavyweight contender in the 1980s and 1990s who fought some of the big names of the era including Buster Mathis Jr, Tyrell Biggs and Frans Botha.
He represented America in the London 2012 Olympics and turned pro shortly after, starting out in the cruiserweight ranks, and quickly put together an undefeated run before challenging Usyk.
To highlight the serious threat that Hunter presents to Fury, the 33-year-old caused a massive upset on his last visit to Britain in October 2019 when he stopped the unbeaten prospect Martin Bakole in the 10th round of a thrilling fight after landing some heavy shots for the referee to wave it off.
Since then he has gone unbeaten in seven fights, including a December 2019 draw with Povetkin in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, which Fury believes should rightly have been a decision win in his favour.
“We’re excited to return to Manchester and the iconic AO Arena Manchester for a fight which has everything on the line,” said BOXXER Founder and CEO Ben Shalom.
“Hughie Fury has patiently built his way back to world title contention and has overcome big challenges along the way. This is another big test against one of the most avoided fighters in the division.
“Hughie is only just about to come into his prime and so if he can get past Michael then he puts himself unquestionably in the mix for world titles in the coming months and years.
“Michael will also believe this is the chance he is waiting for, and with such a big opportunity on the line for the winner, both fighters will be giving everything.”
Adam Smith, Sky Sports Head of Boxing Development, said: “What a fabulous match up in the blue-riband division as Hughie Fury has a serious heavyweight test against the excellent Michael Hunter – whose talent we know well on Sky!
“Can Hughie now emerge out of the shadows to produce a career-best performance – or will the classy and avoided American gate-crash the world scene?”
A ticket for the BOXXER event will grant access to AO Manchester Arena from 17:30 for the duration of the evening. Tickets will subsequently grant free access to the Ricky versus Barrera show by Europa Concerts which will begin after BOXXER’s event has concluded.
To register for tickets go to boxxer.com