SHAWNEE, OK (July 22, 2023) — Former unified and lineal lightweight world champion George Kambosos Jr. (21-2, 10 KOs) secured a narrow 12-round majority decision victory against an elusive Maxi Hughes (26-6-2, 5 KOs) Saturday evening at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma, earning a mandatory shot at the IBF crown.
Kambosos returned to the ring with renewed vigor after back-to-back undisputed showdowns in his native Australia. But Hughes, an English southpaw coming off a seven-fight win streak, nullified Kambosos’ aggression with distance and intelligent footwork.
In the fifth round Hughes used his quick feet to set up left hands, one of which opened up a cut above Kambosos’ right eye. A clash of heads in the sixth round caused a cut above Hughes’ left eye.
The later rounds saw both fighters continuing to set up single shots with feints and jabs. Hughes had more success with his counter left hand, while Kambosos, with a sense of urgency, tried to pick up the pace in the final round.
Kambosos takes home his mandatory spot with scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 115-113.
“We won the fight by many rounds. 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. A lot of guys coming off losses wouldn’t want to take a test like him. This was a hard challenge,” Kambosos said. “I need to get grittier. He was moving a lot and wasn’t engaging a lot, but that’s the way he fights. We knew he was going to be a tough challenge, but styles make fights. I’ve got to be more gritty with these guys.”
Hughes said, “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.”
Davis Dominates Patera
Keyshawn Davis (9-0, 6 KOs) passed the stiffest test of his career in beating Belgian contenderFrancesco Patera (28-4, 10 KOs) via 10-round unanimous decision by scores of 100-89 2x and 99-90. The 24-year-old native of Norfolk, Virginia, took his time to analyze Patera, feinting and cutting the ring before landing short, crisp combos when he had Patera on the ropes.
In rounds five and six, Davis decreased his punching output, and Patera attempted to claw his way into the fight. But in round eight, he dropped Patera with a sharp right hand. Davis remained calm and outboxed Patera into the final rounds.
Davis said, “I give myself a C+ or B-. But like I said, we got the win, and that’s all that matters. I can’t really be too hard on myself if I don’t stop these guys because they have way more experience than me. But, at the end of the day, I am beating them unanimously in every round. I just got to take my hat off for just doing the little things like that, sticking to my game plan, listening to my coaching and just having fun in there.”
In other results:
Welterweight: Southpaw contender Giovani Santillan (31-0, 16 KOs) won a hard-earned decision over tough Ecuadorian Erick Bone(27-7, 14 KOs). In the early rounds, the San Diego native controlled the action with his jab before suddenly sneaking in quick bombs. An undeterred Bone, however, forced Santillan to earn the later rounds by answering back with several straight right hands. Scores: 97-92, 98-92 and 97-93.
Heavyweight: Oklahoma-born prospectJeremiah Milton (10-0, 7 KOs) notched a fourth-round TKO win against Willie Harvey (4-3-2, 3 KOs). Milton used every bit of his five-inch height advantage to land hooks and right hands from the outside. The sustained punishment wore Harvey down, obligating his corner to halt the bout before the fifth.
Middleweight: U.S. Olympian Troy Isley (10-0, 4 KOs) tallied a workmanlike eight-round unanimous decision against Antonio Todd (14-9, 8 KOs). Isley outlanded Todd in nearly every exchange, but he struggled at times with Todd’s shoulder roll defense and counter punches. Scores: 79-73 3x.
Heavyweight: New Zealand-born standout Hemi Ahio (21-1, 16 KOs) defeated Amron Sands (12-3, 9 KOs) via sixth-round TKO. Both fought at close range for the entire fight, but Ahio’s shorter punches landed harder and more often on the 300-pound Sands. After an unanswered flurry, Ahio forced referee Chris Flores to stop the contest. Time of stoppage: 2:12.