By: Sean Crose
George Kambosos was looking to return to form Saturday when he battled the widely unknown Maxi Hughes at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma. The lightweight affair was scheduled for 12 and was the main event of an ESPN and Top Rank card. The last time he had fought in the United States, Kambosos had shocked a whole lot of people by outclassing Teofimo Lopez and removing the decorated American from his IBF, WBA, and WBO lightweight titles. Since that time, however, Kambosos had gone on to lose two in a row to American Devin Haney in his native Australia. Now without his titles, Kambosos was aiming once again to make his mark.
The opening round saw the 26-5-2 Hughes try to pepper the 20-2 Kambosos with a southpaw jab. Each man was able to reach the other with power shots while trying to control the terrain. Hughes picked at his man in the second while Kambosos tried to close the distance, with some success. The third round was rather interesting. Kambosos pushed the action, but Hughes often caught the former world titlist coming in. Fast paced and awkward, the fourth was a study of two men trying to pick their spots to land effectively. Neither fighter did anything of note, though the the action was certainly fast.
A fight broke out briefly in the fifth before Hughes resumed fighting off this rear foot. Both men had their moments, but blood was starting to run down Kambosos’ face. The Aussies’ low guard was working against him. Hughes appeared to land the more effective shots in the sixth, but he too had blood on his face by the end of the round. Both fighters threw wildly in the seventh, with neither really dominating. Hughes just looked to be too fast and awkward for Kambosos in the eighth. With that being said, Kambosos had a better ninth, his aggression finally becoming effective.
There was no doubt in the tenth that Hughes was slowing down at bit, and that Kambosos was taking advantage of the situation by landing clean shots with greater frequency. A rejuvenated Kambosos continued to fight well in the eleventh – though the tired Hughes was certainly still game. The twelfth and final round was hard to call as each man did quite well for himself. The judges ultimately ruled in favor of Kambosos by scores of 114-114, 117-111, and 115-113
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