World Boxing News has learned a fight between Anthony Joshua and Michael Hunter is expected to be confirmed early next week for June 1.

Michael Hunter intends to earn his world title shot at Anthony Joshua after coming close to being confirmed as a replacement opponent for the British star’s US debut.

The American was included on a shortlist for Joshua before Andy Ruiz Jr was named as the next challenger for the WBA ‘super’, IBF and WBO heavyweight champion at Madison Square Garden in New York on June 1.

Hunter confirmed that he did not receive formal terms after original foe Jarrell ‘Big Baby’ Miller failed a drug test, but hopes to force his way back into contention, starting with this weekend’s fight against Fabio Maldonado in Maryland.

He told Sky Sports: “They were close to using me, because they couldn’t find the right representative, and 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.

If I do get it, it will be because I earned it, and I took it from them.

“To get it 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.”

The Las Vegas-based 30-year-old is open to a return to Britain after last year’s stoppage victory over Martin Bakole in London, which was followed by another knockout of Alexander Ustinov in Monte Carlo.

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