Heavyweight contender Michael ‘The Bounty’ Hunter 17-1 (12) is gunning for the top names in boxing’s flagship division after stopping Fabio Maldonado 26-3 (25) in two rounds at the MGM National Harbor in Maryland on Saturday night.
The 30-year-old American, whose lone loss was to cruiserweight king Oleksandr Usyk on points in 2017, became the first person to stop Maldonado in 29 fights.
Hunter took the opportunity to call out IBF, WBA and WBO champion Anthony Joshua after the fight.
“Mandatory, any chance that I can get, I’m taking it. I’m here and I’m here to stay,” said Hunter.
“Anthony Joshua, he’s the cash cow, you know what I’m saying. It’s an easy fight to make, we’re both with DAZN and Matchroom.
“Dillian Whyte, we want Dillian Whyte, we want a mandatory.”
After a feeling out round to open the bout, Hunter opened up on his opponent at the start of the second frame, sending the Brazilian veteran to the canvas twice to force the stoppage at the 1:45.
Hunter was in the frame to replace Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller against Joshua at Madison Square Garden on June 1 after the Brooklyn banger failed three drug tests, but Andy Ruiz Jr was eventually tabbed to fill the slot.
“They were close to using me, because they couldn’t find the right representative,” Hunter told Sky Sports.
“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.
“To get [a shot at Joshua] 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.”
On the same card heavyweight prospect Filip Hrgovic 8-0 (6) impressed in his American debut with a one-minute blowout of Gregory Corbin 15-2 (9).
“We didn’t have time to see the best of Hrgovic. But I’m looking forward to big fights, strong opponents and to give the USA fans great fights,” the 26-year-old Croatian said.
“I will face anyone, anytime in heavyweight division.”