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April 10, 2017

By G. Leon

GL: Congrats on the victory, can you give us some thoughts on Usyk's performance? It was as tough a fight as I expected. I expected Hunter to be a very worthy and talented challenger, and he was. I think he made life very difficult, I think the fact that Usyk is in such great shape that he could sustain such a great work rate was the difference for him. I think his work rate and the way that he could break guys down is just a real strong point to his game.

GL: Usyk came out very strong in the first round and then allowed Hunter to outwork him in the second and third before taking control in the fourth. Why do you think t is that he's such a slow starter?

Russ Anber: "I think it's a reflection of his personality. I think he's a cerebral type guy and he's a very calculated individual. He's smart and he doesn't just go off by the seat of his pants. It took everything I could to make sure that he got off to a good start in the first round. It's a credit to Michael Hunter for coming back after losing the first round, I thought that was going to be a key for us to gain control of the fight by getting that first round. Maybe Usyk just kind of fell back into his old ways, but there's not much that we're going to be able to do to get him out of his personality. He's never going to be a Hail Mary kind of guy, he's going to be very calculated in what he does because that's who he is as a person. If it means he's going to be a slow starter and take time to figure out his guy so be it, I don't think there's going to be anybody who is going to change what is his personality and what way he's going to approach a fight, because he's the one that's in there and he knows what works."

GL: Like I said he took control in round four and nearly got him out of there in the final round. Do you think the fight should have been stopped?

RA: "You know what? I think it should have, especially since he was so far ahead on the cards I think they could have saved Hunter from further punishment, but I got to credit Michael Hunter's heart and courage for him to even survive that round. Even when Usyk was throwing all kind of shots at him and we couldn't catch him clean. He kept turning his chin and did just enough to take the steam off the end of the punches. I haven't seen a guy do that in years, that's a real old school defensive moves that he was doing. I was impressed by what he was doing, it was very skillful, it was like Jersey Joe Walcott type stuff."

GL: Usyk manages to hurt guys with his left and it doesn't look like he's sitting on his punches. Why do you think that is?

RA: "I think that's right, and that's something that we're working on. I think you see it with Lomachenko as well, he doesn't turn on all of his punches. They might be two of the best guys in boxing who can vary their punches from 10% to 100% inside the same flurry in terms of power, and that's not an easy skill set, that's not an easy thing to do. I'm really impressed that he could do that especially for such a big guy. It's hard to remember a big guy like that having that kind of work rate."

GL: Vassiliy Jirov.

RA: "Correct, but you're going back."

GL: He reminds me of Jirov a bit. When are you expecting him back in the ring?

RA: "That's a discussion you're going to have with Egis, he's got the midas touch right now and I don't think anybody can question what he's doing. It's been a long time in boxing that we've had a manager in boxing with a stable of elite top level talent like the one he's got."

GL: Is there anything you'd like to say in closing?

RA: "I'm really excited about this Greg, I'm thrilled and honored that they chose me and I'm even happier that he likes me and seems to enjoy some of the stuff that we've been doing. I'm not trying to be cliche, but he is a coaches dream as far as I'm concerned. He's eager to work and learn, he's a happy person and he lives in the gym. I'm blessed to have been given this opportunity."

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