Michael Hunter struggled to a split decision draw with Jerry Forrest as the American heavyweight contender clung onto his hopes of securing a world title shot.
Hunter’s face was badly swollen in a gruelling battle as he was forced to dig deep in the final round to salvage a 96-94 score, while the other judge scored it 96-94 to Forrest and the final judge made it a 95-95 draw in New York.
The Las Vegas-based contender had told Sky Sports this month he was targeting a rematch with unified champion Oleksandr Usyk, who inflicted the only loss on his record.
Hunter told Sky Sports this month: “The fact that it’s in Usyk’s hands and it might stay there, it gives an opportunity for me to get all the belts. That’s what I’m here for.
“I would like to fight the top guys and get these good names, but at the end of the day, I just want to become undisputed – and that’s what I’m going for.”
On the same bill, Cassius Chaney suffered his first defeat by split decision to fellow unbeaten rival George Arias.
Chaney was outworked over 10 rounds as the aggressive Arias secured the verdict on two of the scorecards.
Trey Lippe Morrison, son of former world heavyweight champion Tommy Morrison, also lost his undefeated record after being stopped in the first round by Mike Balogun.
Morrison was floored by a big left hand and then staggered across the ring before the referee waved it off.