Ruiz Jr vs Joshua 2: Michael Hunter and Alexander Povetkin battle to a draw after 12 hard-fought rounds
Watch repeats of Ruiz Jr v Joshua 2 at 8am and 2pm on Sunday
By Peter Gilbert
Last Updated: 07/12/19 11:14pm
Michael Hunter and Alexander Povetkin battled to a split-decision draw in their WBA heavyweight eliminator.
Hunter had the battled-hardened Povetkin in trouble more than once but after 12 hard-fought rounds the judges were unable to split the pair in the co-feature to the Andy Ruiz Jr-Anthony Joshua rematch in Saudi Arabia.
"I thought I'd done enough so back to the drawing board," Hunter told Sky Sports afterwards.
Former cruiserweight Hunter started quickly and rocked Povetkin in the opening 30 seconds and after hurling the Russian veteran to the floor caught him again with another big right.
The American resumed his attack in the second, repeatedly beating his experienced rival to the punch, but Povetkin responded by testing Hunter's chin with a heavy right of his own.
Povetkin went head-hunting with his trademark hooks in a close third round, while Hunter targeted the body in the fourth.
A short-left hook sent Hunter scuttling backwards in the fifth round and a left bloodied his nose, but the Las Vegas resident weathered the storm and finished the round swinging when the bell sounded.
At the halfway stage former world champion Povetkin was breathing heavily but still managing to dictate proceedings from the centre of the ring, while Hunter got back behind his jab.
The 'Bounty Hunter' continued to rely on his jab in the seventh and also enjoyed success with his hooks before landing a heavy right in the eighth to leave an out-of-breath Povetkin feeling all of his 40 years.
After a tight couple of rounds, which saw both men trade body blows, Hunter let his hands go and wobbled Povetkin in the penultimate round with two right hooks and connected with another three rights.
Hunter landed another huge right in the final round but the 31-year-old was also caught by straight shots himself before the judges returned scores of 115-113 apiece and the third judge 114-114.
Watch Ruiz v Joshua 2 repeats on Sunday, live on Sky Sports Box Office, from 8am and 2pm. Book it via your Sky remote or book it online here. Even if you aren't a Sky TV subscriber you can book and watch it here.