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Preview: George Kambosos Jr vs Maxi Hughes

Maxi Hughes heads over to the United States for the first time in his boxing career, looking to shock the world and overcome the odds as he faces former unified champion at 135-pounds - George Kambosos Jr.

Hughes heads into the fight as the clear underdog with the bookmakers, despite his former world champion opponent, George Kambosos Jr, coming into the fight off the back of two demoralising losses to Lightweight King, Devin Haney.

Proud Yorkshireman Hughes has had to take the long route to the top of the division, facing adversity on a number of occasions throughout his career. After a points loss to Scott Cardle in just his 10th professional fight for the Central Area Lightweight Title, few would have predicted Hughes would pick up a world title and be one victory away from a potential Unification or undisputed fight.

After losses against both Martin Joseph Ward and Sam Bowen for the prestigious British Title, Maxi would go on to lose another title fight, when Liam Walsh picked up the vacant WBO European Title. However, a shock win over Jono Carroll would kickstart Hughes's career and after finally picking up the British Title against Paul Hyland Jr, Hughes would make it back-to-back titles when securing the IBO Lightweight Title against Jovanni Straffon.

Hughes midway through his first successful title defence

33 fights, 26 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws later, Maxi Hughes stands toe-to-toe with former unified world champion Kambosos -a legacy-defining career highlight. 36 minutes separates Hughes from being next in line for the IBF 135-pound title fight. With the current king of the division, Devin Haney, looking likely to make the step up to super-lightweight, it could even be for all the marbles!

The man in the opposite corner is no stranger to shock wins or adversity. George Kambosos Jr set up a unification fight with the man who beat the man in Teofimo Lopez, on the back of a controversial split decision win over Lee Selby. Many felt the Welshman had done enough to secure the victory, however, Kambosos stepped it up a gear in the following fight and was crowned WBA (super), IBF, WBO and The Ring Lightweight champion after beating Lopez on another split decision victory.

Kambosos on his way to world title glory against Teofimo Lopez

Victory over Lopez set up undisputed status for the winner of Kambosos against Devin Haney. Elite level proved to be a step too far and an almost punch perfect 24 rounds from American champ Haney, sat him at the top of the Lightweight pile as undisputed champion. Whilst Kambosos was competitive in spells during the first fight down under, Haney happily made the trip to Melbourne for the rematch and the fight was a one-sided shutout.

For Kambosos, it is very much a catch-22 situation and could very easily be considered a must-win fight. Three consecutive world title losses would be a severe momentum killer for the former Aussie King and would see him tumble down the Lightweight rankings. A victory for Hughes would see Kambosos almost meteoric rise to the top come crumbling back down to earth.

Maxi Hughes heads into Saturday night fighting outside of the UK for just the second time in his career. Not only that but this is his first time fighting in America, with the world sitting at his feet. A career-best win sets Hughes up for another huge 135-pound clash and the Brit will be licking his lips at a chance to shock the world. The man standing in his way will be looking to take his seat back on the perch he briefly sat on and be at the top of the lightweight division again in the not so distant future.

Fighters Form

Maxi Hughes (26-5-2, 5 KO’s)

Kid Galahad – Win – MD

Ryan Walsh – Win – UD

Jovanni Straffon – Win – UD

Paul Hyland Jr – Win – TKO

Viktor Kotochigov – Win – UD

George Kambosos Jr (20-2, 10 KO’s)

Devin Haney – Loss – UD

Devin Haney – Loss – UD

Teofimo Lopez – Win – SD

Lee Selby – Win – SD

Mickey Bey – Win – SD

Event Information:

Date: July 22nd 2023

Time: Approx. 04:00am Ring Walk (Sunday morning, GMT)

Venue: Firelake Arena, Shawnee, Oklahoma, USA

Promoter: Top Rank

Official fight poster

Elsewhere on the undercard, hot prospect Keyshawn Davis again steps up in class as he faces Francesco Patera in a lightweight contest. There are six other fights on the undercard prior to the top two, including prospects like Giovani Santillan, Troy Isley, Amron Sands and Jeremiah Milton to name but a few.

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