Saturday night at the Motorpoint Arena in Nottingham sees modern day Cinderella man Maxi Hughes at the top of the bill, as the IBO lightweight champion squares off in a Yorkshire derby against former IBF world champion Kid Galahad, who is moving up two weight classes after a devastating loss of his featherweight world title last time out.
DAZN televise Hughes vs Galahad live, and Eddie Hearn promotes.
The bill should have been headlined by a potential explosive title defence for hometown hero Leigh Wood, but the WBA featherweight champion was forced out of a dangerous assignment against Mauricio Lara due to injury.
Hughes (25-5-2, KO5) is enjoying a real Indian summer to his career after several failed domestic title attempts at various weights.
His stock started to unexpectedly rise again in August 2020, when he upset Jono Carroll in a superb decision win, and backed that up with victory in Dubai on the cards against the previously unbeaten Viktor Kotochigov.
The vacant British title finally followed with an eighth round stoppage of Paul Hyland Jr in March last year, and then came the vacant IBO title at lightweight, with another impressive win, this time unanimously against Jovanni Straffon in Leeds.
The 32-year-old was last seen in March, taking a wide decision win against Ryan Walsh.
Conversely, Galahad (28-2, 17 KOs) is on the rebuild. After losing narrowly in a scrappy challenge for Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight title in June 2019, the Sheffield man took the same vacant title in the Matchroom back garden, as he forced Jazza Dickens to retire after eleven rounds.
That was expected to be the launchpad for the product of the Ingle Gym, but his first defence was a nightmare, as Kiko Martinez flattened him in the sixth round.
Prediction: Galahad is a tricky, switch-hitting customer, and Hughes may well find his kryptonite in this one. I favour Galahad to take a clear points win.
Rankin defends against Harper
The undercard sees more world title action, and Terri Harper attempts to become a two-weight world champion, but steps up several weights to tackle WBA and IBO super welterweight champion, Hannah Rankin.
Rankin (12-5, 3 KOs) won the two vacant belts in November last year, outscoring Maria Lindberg, and defended with a bruising last round stoppage of Alejandra Ayala in May.
Harper (12-1-1, 6 KOs) looked on course for big fights at super featherweight after reigning as WBC and IBO queen, but her world came crashing down in a stunning fourth round loss to Alycia Baumgardner last November.
‘Belter’ did return in March, taking the vacant WBA Intercontinental lightweight title with a points win against Yamila Belen Abellaneda.
Prediction: My gut feeling is that this is a big step-up for Harper, not in terms of class, but in size. Rankin is used to these weights, and is durable, having only been stopped by Savannah Marshall. I favour Rankin to win a tight contest on the cards.
The vacant IBO Continental welterweight title is up for grabs, and Cyrus Pattinson (4-0, 2 KOs) has a scheduled ten rounder for the first time, where he can take a points win against Frenchman Jorick Luisetto (12-4, 3 KOs).
Solomon Dacres (4-0, 1 KO) has his second contest of 2022, and the heavyweight takes on Dominic Akinlade (9-3-1, 4 KOs) over a scheduled ten.
I favour Dacres to win by stoppage against Akinlade, who took Nathan Gorman the full ten in 2017, but hasn’t fought since 2020, and was halted inside a round against Martin Bakole after facing Gorman.
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Cheavon Clarke (2-0, 2 KOs) is also in action, and the Kent based cruiserweight can be the first man to halt Argentina’s Marcos Nicolas Karalitzky (7-5-2, 2 KOs).
Lightweight Rhiannon Dixon (5-0) and super welterweight, Junaid Bostan (2-0, 2 KOs) are also set to feature against opponents to be confirmed.