Maxi Hughes continues an Indian Summer to his career with a date in the USA this Saturday night, as he defends his IBO lightweight title for the third time, this time against former unified world champion, George Kambosos Jr.
The bill takes place at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma, and can be seen on DAZN.
After failing to win the British super featherweight title twice, and then losing a clear decision to Liam Walsh for the WBO European lightweight belt in 2019, Hughes (26-5-2, KO5) was expected to be relegated to being an opponent for up and coming talent, but his luck turned during COVID, beginning with a stunning points win over ten in August 2020 against Jono Carroll. The Yorkshireman followed that up with a points win in Dubai against the unbeaten prospect Viktor Kotochogov to take the WBC International belt, and the British title finally was clinched when he stopped Paul Hyland Jr in eight in March 2021. From there, his remarkable turnaround has seen him widely outscore Jovanni Straffon to win the IBO belt, and then defend it in another commanding points win against Ryan Walsh. Hughes was last out in September last year, upsetting Kid Galahad via majority decision.
He now is rewarded with a USA debut, but it’s a tall ask against Australia’s Kambosos Jr (20-2, KO10). An October 2020 split decision win against Lee Selby gave Kambosos a dream shot at the WBA (Super), IBF and WBO titles in November 2021, and he took the chance with both hands, taking a split decision against Teofimo Lopez to become unified champion. He was frustrated twice in trying to add the WBC strap though, losing clearly twice in Melbourne against Devin Haney, and he will look to get back in contention by seeing off Hughes this weekend.
Prediction: This is a big assignment for Hughes, but I expect him to give it his all. Ultimately, I think Kambosos may know a little too much, and can take a decision win.
Keyshawn Davis back out again
The undercard sees Keyshawn Davis (8-0, KO6) tale part in his second fight in just over three months after stopping Anthony Yigit in nine, and he gets a good test against former European champion Francesco Patera (28-3, KO10), that he can come through on the cards over ten at lightweight.
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Santillan (30-0, KO16) may need all ten frames to take care of Erick Bone (27-6, KO14), who has only been halted once before.
The rest of the card are eight round affairs.
Troy Isley (9-0, KO4) can deal with Antonio Todd (14-8, KO8) inside the distance at middleweight, and the rest of the bill sees the heavyweights take centre stage.
New Zealand’s Hemi Ahio (20-1, KO15) should win a fun fight by knockout against Amron Sands (12-2, KO9), and Roney Hinds (12-0-1, KO8) can halt Michael Pirotton (7-0, KO3). Stephan Shaw (18-1, KO13) should stop Joseph Goodall (9-1-1, KO8), and Jeremiah Milton (9-0, KO6) should blast out Willie Harvey (4-2-2, KO3).