Home Boxing News George Kambosos Jr ekes past Maxi Hughes to keep himself in world...

George Kambosos Jr ekes past Maxi Hughes to keep himself in world title mix

Maxi Hughes and George Kambosos Jr

The return of George ‘Ferocious’ Kambosos Jr 21-2 (10) was harder than expected when the former unified lightweight champion laboured to a 12-round majority points victory over Maxi Hughes 26-6-2 (5) in an IBF world title eliminator at Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma on Saturday night.

The 30-year-old Australian got the win but seemed lost at times by the southpaw stance and in-and-out movement of England’s Hughes, 33.

There wasn’t a lot of sustained action in the bout but Hughes got off to the better start while Kambosos came on in the back half of the fight.

Kambosos was cut over the right eye from a left cross in the fifth and Hughes was cut over the right eye from an accidental head clash in the sixth, but neither injury had any effect on the fight.

At the conclusion of the bout judges Gerald Ritter and David Sutherland both saw it as a close contest, turning in cards of 115-113 and 114-114 respectively. Judges Josef Mason had it egregiously wide at 117-111.

Kambosos saw himself as a comfortable winner.

“We won the fight by many rounds,” the former WBA, WBO and IBF lightweight champion said. “That’s no discredit to Maxi Hughes. He had a couple good rounds. But a couple good rounds don’t win you the fight. We won a majority of the rounds. That’s the reason we chose him. He was a hard test.

“I need to get grittier. He was moving a lot and wasn’t engaging a lot, but that’s the way he fights.”

Kambosos broke Hughes’ seven fight win streak and logged his first victory in almost two year when he defeated Teofimo Lopez by split decision at New York’s famed Madison Square Garden in November 2021.

For Hughes, it was a bitter defeat to swallow after the way he performed against a fellow top 10 ranked contender.

His dismay was obvious in his post-fight interview.

“It was a bit of a kick in the bollocks if I’m honest,” Hughes said. “Now I feel a bit stupid stood here in a cowboy hat. I’m absolutely devastated. Nobody thought I was supposed to be in George’s league. Tonight, I came and I showed that I should have had my hand raised. I don’t want to take George’s moment.

“I used my footwork. I made him miss and pay. I landed the cleaner shots. I don’t want to sound like a sore loser, and I will watch it and assess it, but everyone here now knows who Maxi Hughes is.”

The fight was billed as an IBF world title eliminator with the victor to take the vacant number two spot in the New Jersey-based sanctioning body’s rankings.

If undisputed 135-pound champion Devin Haney moves up in weight as expected, Kambosos will be the first boxer called up to face number one contender Gustavo Lemos of Argentina for the vacant title.