Michael ‘Bounty’ Hunter targets ‘Prince’ Charles Martin to decide future IBF heavyweight title challenger

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Michael Hunter wants to meet ‘Prince’ Charles Martin in a fight between the highest available IBF-ranked contenders to decide an eventual title challenger.

Former IBF heavyweight champion Martin has battled to No 2 status in the governing body’s rankings four years after losing the belt to Anthony Joshua.Hunter is at No 4 after a 2019 that included two victories then a draw against Alexander Povetkin.”Best to do a fight with Martin for a final eliminator,” Hunter’s manager Martin Mikolajczak from Be Def Sports told Sky Sports. “We want Martin, Dillian Whyte, Robert Helenius, Kubrat Pulev. Anyone!”

Pulev is the only contender ranked higher than Martin and his mandatory opportunity at Joshua’s titles – that fight, live on Sky Sports Box Office, is scheduled for June 20 but has a back-up date in July due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result any final eliminator in the IBF heavyweight rankings would need to wait until 2021 at the earliest for their shot.

Oleksandr Usyk is at No 3, between Martin and Hunter, but is already the WBO mandatory challenger and is scheduled to face Derek Chisora on May 23, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Martin’s manager Mike Borao told Sky Sports: “The heavyweight division is changing so quickly, it makes sense to sit back and see what happens. It is too premature to discuss another final eliminator when the next IBF mandatory hasn’t taken place yet.

“Besides, Pulev has a unique track record when it comes to mandatory bouts so I want to see how the Joshua fight plays out before making any major decisions.

“One thing is for sure – Charles is in a great position to get his championship back (with interest, with other belts!) Charles has already shocked many by getting back to the top of the rankings. I assure you he will shock even more fans when he knocks Joshua out!”

Martin earned a career-best knockout in his previous fight by flattening Gerald Washington on the undercard for the rematch between Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder.

Robert Helenius exploded into contention with an upset KO win over Adam Kownacki to put himself in the hunt for Joshua’s belts at No 6 in the IBF rankings.

“I’ve been there in a sparring camp with him,” Helenius told Sky Sportsabout Joshua. “I have nothing personal against him, he’s a very good guy. I think very highly of him and I like him a lot, but I think I would beat him.”

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