Maxi Hughes defends his IBO lightweight title against Australia’s former unified world champion George Kambosos Jr in the United States this weekend, and we've got everything you need to know ahead of the showdown.
Kambosos is bidding to become a two-time world champion after a pair of defeats to Devin Haney, while Briton Hughes heads into the contest on the back of a seven-fight winning streak and is making the third defence of his IBO title.
|George Kambosos Jr v Maxi Hughes
|Firelake Arena, Shawnee, Oklahoma
|Sunday, July 23rd, 2023
|George Kambosos Jr 3/10, Maxi Hughes
The fight is due to take place in the early hours of Sunday 23rd July 2023 in Oklahoma, USA.
The main card is due to begin at around 03:00 BST on Sunday 23rd July.
Ringwalks for the main event are expected at around 04:30, although this time could change depending on the length of the undercard fights.
The event is being held at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
The arena is a multi-purpose venue that has held nine previous boxing cards since 2014 and has a seating capacity of 5,000.
The event is being broadcast by ESPN in the USA, whilst Sky Sports will be showing the card in full for viewers in the UK.
Kambosos Jr is the 3/10 favourite as he attempts to become a two-time world champion and bounce back from a pair of defeats to Haney.
Hughes can be backed at 12/5 as he bids to defend his IBO title for the third time.
Hughes is making the fourth defence of the IBO lightweight world title he won by beating Jovanni Straffon on points in September 2021, having claimed wins over Ryan Walsh and Kid Galahad since becoming the champion.
Kambosos Jr doesn’t hold any belts but is the former IBF, WBA and WBO lightweight champion.
Kambosos Jr has a 20-2 record, with 10 of his wins coming via knockout, and he won his first 20 contests before suffering a first defeat to Haney in a unification bout in June last year.
The 30-year-old claimed eye-catching victories over Mickey Bey and Lee Selby and those successes helped him secure a title eight against Teofimo Lopez.
Kambosos Jr went into that clash at Madison Square Garden as a huge underdog after Lopez had overcome Ukrainian star Vasyl Lomachenko to add the WBO and WBA titles to his IBF strap, but the Sydney-native produced an assured performance to claim a split decision win.
‘Ferocious’ fell short in the first defence of his titles, however, as he lost a one-sided bout against Haney in June 2022 and missed out on the chance to become the first undisputed lightweight champion of the four-belt era.
Kambosos Jr activated a rematch clause and the pair met again in October at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne, but again Haney claimed a comprehensive win - with two judges scoring the fight 118-110 in Haney’s favour and one 119-109.
The second defeat to Haney was Kambosos Jr’s last outing, and his meeting with Hughes is his fourth world title clash in succession.
Hughes has a 26-5-2 record and five of his wins have come inside the distance.
The 33-year-old won his first five contests after turning professional in 2010 before that streak was ended with a draw in a four-round contest with Ronnie Clark.
Hughes picked up three more wins before losing for the first time in a British title clash with Scott Cardle. The Yorkshireman responded well to that setback as he picked up a few more victories, before a draw then a defeat to Martin Ward, challenging for the vacant WBC International super feather title in the latter.
Hughes lost again to Ward and to Sam Bowen in British title fights and also fell short in a bid for European honours against Liam Walsh. ‘Maximus’ landed the WBC International lightweight title in October 2020 by seeing off Kazakh Viktor Kotochigov and he finally managed to claim a British title in March 2021 as he stopped Paul Hyland Jnr in the eighth round.
In September of that year, Hughes became a world champion with a unanimous decision victory over Jovanni Straffon and he has since defended his IBO title against Ryan Walsh and Kid Galahad, winning both of those fights on points.
George Kambosos has helped play his part putting Australian boxing on the map over the last few years.
His memorable triumph Teofimo Lopez in New York was one of the biggest boxing stories in 2021.
The steely self-belief of the 30-year-old was unstoppable as he welcomed American slickster Devin Haney for a two-fight series. However, the dramatic high of the Big Apple was brought back down to earth when Haney not only won but won with ease.
A nine-month break from competitive action should have revitalised the Aussie who believes he is a level above Hughes.
The Kambosos that defeated Lopez would be a nightmare assignment for anyone not called Haney, Stevenson, or Davis. It’s whether or not he can recapture that form which is one of this fight’s main talking points.
Should he do so then his all-out aggression and speed could prove a step too far for Hughes’ world title ambitions.
|Upper body movement
|Open to overhand rights
|Gets easily frustrated
|Cab be bullied
|Open to counter punches
Fighters are not fond of the phrase, ‘You’ve got nothing to lose’ or ‘It’s a win-win situation’.
In Maxi Hughes case they could both be applied to the biggest fight of his career on Saturday night.
Given how long and how hard he has had to work for this opportunity another one might not come along if he were to end up on the losing side. This makes his American debut all the more important.
A typically valiant British defeat would still provide him with decent pay days and opportunities but his run over the last three years has him wanting far greater prizes.
Unbeaten in his last seven bouts including wins over Jovanni Straffon and Kid Galahad have rightly put Hughes into a fight of this magnitude.
Can he seize the moment?
Well, the early rounds, as always, will tell us a lot, but one thing is for sure, with so much at stake for Hughes he will leave everything he has to offer in Oklahoma.
|Open to uppercuts during attacks
|Accurate left hand
|Controls fights with his jab
|Keeps out of trouble
|Open to straight shots to the body
Oklahoma is the setting for Maxi Hughes American dream on Saturday.
The blue-collar Yorkshireman has plied his trade as a painter, but also on the canvas of many a boxing ring looking for an opportunity to shine against a top lightweight.
George Kambosos Jr is out to prove that his 2021 win over Teofimo Lopez was no fluke and that he remains one of the best at 135lbs.
Back-to-back defeats against Devin Haney, where he barely won any of the 24 rounds they fought, proved that the elite are a step too far.
But who wins?
takes a look at the Tale of the Tape...
|George Kambosos Jr
|20-2 (10 KOs)
|26-5-2 (5 KOs)
|Former unified lightweight world champion
|IBO Lightweight champion
|L - UD v Devin Haney (Oct 2022)
|W - UD v Kid Galahad (Sep 2022)
There are seven confirmed undercard fights, with chief-support to the headline bout coming in the shape of Keyshawn Davis v Francesco Patera.
The unbeaten lightweight claimed a silver medal at the 2020 Olympic Games and will be stepping inside the professional ring for the ninth time this weekend.
There is also a welterweight match-up between Giovanni Santillan and Erick Bone and two confirmed heavyweight contests as Mike Balogun takes on Hemi Ahio and Roney Hilnes faces Michael Pirotton.
|George Kambosos Jr v Maxi Hughes
|IBO lightweight title
|Kayshawn Davis v Francesco Patera
|Giovani Santillan v Erick Bone
|Troy Isley v Antonio Todd
|Amron Sands v Hemo Ahio
|Roney Hines v Michael Pirotton
|Stephan Shaw v Joseph Goodall
|Jeremiah Milton v Willie Harvey