‘Francis Ngannou is a girthy dude – one hit from him could change everything’

Michael Hunter has shared the ring with some of the best boxers the world has to offer.

From helping former two-unified heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko in his bout against David Haye in 2011 to going 12 rounds with the current unified heavyweight champion Oleksandr Usyk in 2017, the American has seen his fair share of excellence in boxing.

But when he stepped into the octagon with ex-UFC heavyweight champion Francis Ngannou, the 35-year-old said the thought of the MMA star throwing a punch at you was "scary", during his exclusive chat with Daily Star Sport.

"When you stand next to Francis, he is a girthy dude, he literally has a hammer for a hand, one hit could change [everything].

READ MORE: 'Francis Ngannou is special – we want to cause the biggest upset in boxing history'

"I sized him up when I was in the octagon with him and that's a scary thing, just for him to get a hold of you, to see a punch being thrown at you with a [smaller] glove and you know that's mostly his fist, it's a different type of thing."

Both fighters are trained by seasoned boxing coach Dewey Cooper and when Hunter was asked whether he'd entertain a bout with the Cameroonian, Cooper quickly swept in as he said: "Don't go there, don't start that, you know what Michael is gonna say."

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While Hunter lost his unbeaten streak in Team Combat League yesterday (August 15), he and Cooper spoke highly of the world's only boxing league with a franchise team format.

The former boxer has high expectations for the organisation as he said: "I believe in the next 3-5 years, we'll be mainstream and people around the world will know TCL and our goal is to be just like the NBA, NFL and the MLB.

"It is a real team sport with people cheering for their home teams, coming to the fights and enjoying a night of team combat."

Cooper, who was a two-time kickboxing world champion, is juggling the responsibilities of being head coach of the Las Vegas Hustle in Team Combat League as well as being the boxing coach for Ngannou ahead of his blockbuster bout against Tyson Fury on October 28.

In what will be the 36-year-old's first-ever professional boxing fight, his coach said he believes he would have become a world champion in the sport should he never made the switch to MMA earlier in his career.

"He would have had the proper tutelage and schooling at a young age, he won the UFC heavyweight title after just eight years of training MMA, that's unheard of," Cooper said.

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