Heavyweight Michael Hunter, at 35 years old, says he has only two goals left in boxing: winning a world title and avenging his lone career loss to Oleksandr Usyk.

Hunter will fight Friday (June 7) in a 12-rounder against Cassius Chaney in which the WBA Interim heavyweight trinket is reportedly on the line at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Hollywood, Florida. 

Usyk is currently the undisputed heavyweight champion. His next mandated fight would be an IBF heavyweight title defense against Daniel Dubois (who on Saturday dismantled Filip Hrgovic in the “5 vs 5” event in Saudi Arabia), followed by a WBA defense.

But with Usyk now 37 and contractually obligated to a December rematch against Tyson Fury, the man he beat to become the undisputed heavyweight champion, the clock is ticking.

Hunter (22-1-2, 16 KOs) looks back with contempt at his 2017 fight with Usyk and believes he wasn’t the fighter he should have been. His fight with the 36-year-old Chaney (23-1, 16 KOs) is his gateway back to Usyk. A win will allow him the chance to become a mandatory challenger for the only man who has beaten him as a professional.

“I would love to fight Usyk again,” Hunter told BoxingScene. “I didn't have a good showing at that point. I had a little malfunction outside of the ring.”

“If you look at the tale of the tape for that fight, you’ll see that I was underweight the night of the fight compared to the weigh-in, and he had a hydrated 10 to 12 pounds. So there were a lot of mistakes that happened outside of the ring. That’s where the fight is really won – doing the work outside of the ring and doing your due diligence there.”

Hunter noted that times were tougher for him then, and some of his motivation came from the financial relief a fight of that magnitude would bring.

“I was having my first child – it was all about finances,” Hunter said. “I had about $3,000 to do the camp. I wasn’t able to eat. I was eating one time a day sometimes. So I wasn’t able to be prepared as I would have liked.”

“I’ve never been scared to jump in the ring with anybody. So like I said, I didn’t really gain weight and rehydrate in that fight. I was totally dehydrated. If you ever watched, if you ever know somebody who’s dehydrated, or has nothing in their stomach and then they drink a lot of water, that’s the worst thing to do for a fighter. Young fighters out there, never do that. Because what that does is it dries you out. Because then after that, you have really nothing inside of you.”

Even at the time, Hunter says, he knew the fight would be grueling given his shape in the moment.

“Before the fight, I knew that it was going to be a long night, especially in the first and second rounds,” Hunter said. “As I was going back to the corner, I thought about it and said, ‘Look, I got a decision to either stop the fight right now ...’ And me even saying that, as I said that, this is exactly what happened: I said, ‘I don't really like that, I don’t really like the stoppage on my record.’”

Hunter made it to the final bell but lost a unanimous decision to the now-undisputed heavyweight champion. The scores read 117-110 on all three cards. Hunter even clapped for Usyk when the fight was over, acknowledging his defeat. He reflected on the best trait of Usyk, the man he hopes to fight again.

“Discipline,” said Hunter. “He’s fast, but he’s not that fast. He doesn’t really hit hard, but it’s respectable. He doesn’t really do anything great other than stay disciplined, and he stays true to himself. He has good movement. He has very little ego when it comes to that.

“So I think that you have to have a lot of discipline to do that. A lot of fights that are lost are usually lost because of your ego. One person trying to fight somebody that’s faster, trying to be faster than somebody that’s faster than them. We have a rule of law in boxing that you fight the boxers and box the fighters.”