George Kambosos Jr. vs Maxi Hughes fight breakdown
‘Ferocious’ Kambosos vs ‘Maximus’ Hughes
Exceptionally strong relations have existed between the Commonwealth realms of Australia and the United Kingdom for over 250 years, but none of that will matter this weekend as Aussie George Kambosos Jr. and Briton Maxi Hughes clash in an IBF Eliminator in Oklahoma on Saturday, July 21.
The 12-round lightweight contest in America will be shown live on Sky Sports at 2:30am on Sunday morning for UK fight fans and the rest of the world can watch on ESPN.
Despite their enduring alliance, Australia and England have a fierce sporting rivalry existing in cricket, and now it turns to boxing this weekend in the States, but who will win this intriguing matchup between an aggressive Aussie and a skilled Englishman? Read on the find out…
George Kambosos’ career-best split decision win over Teofimo Lopez in 2021 was voted as ESPN Upset of the Year. With that shock win, he scooped up three world titles including the Ring Magazine belt. He began 2022 as king of the lightweights, a division that includes the likes of Devin Haney, the aforementioned Lopez, Vasily Lomachencko, Gervonta Davis, Ryan Garcia and Isaac Cruz.
‘Ferocious’ is aggressive and vicious. He holds his hands down low and his punches are explosive as he leaps into them when throwing. The overhand right he put Lopez down with is his favourite shot and landed it multiple times in their fight.
He utilises his quick jab a lot and doubles and triples it up. It’s an effective tool for him to set up bigger shots, he follows his jabs up with straight and overhand rights, uppercuts and even left hooks. Everything comes off that jab at high speed. He distracts you with that lead hand to land the bigger backhand, all in the same move.
He is light on his feet, because he has to be, as he doesn’t have a high guard to protect himself. He has a glimpse of that Mayweather style of holding the left arm in a sling and the right tucked in the chest in that kind of Philly Shell stance. He moves his head quickly and often employs the pull back-counter.
Against Devin Haney, who he was decisioned twice by last year, he was bettered by the skill, speed and accuracy of the undisputed lightweight champion. The first fight was competitive, GK managed to win at least four rounds, but the rematch saw Haney almost play with the Aussie, having already downloaded all the data he needed during the first fight to only give away one or two rounds.
He fought three unified world championship contests within 11 months, but now he’s back in the ring after a bit of a break, nine months on.
Hughes has fought at least twice per year for the last four years. He routinely fought every six months, with fights in March and September in 2021 and 2022. This time though, he has been out the ring for 10 months, but he has had 15 months away before and managed to come straight back with a win.
The southpaw is a tricky, schooled boxer, with a tight guard, good movement, and all-round neat and tidy boxing skills.
He doesn’t possess a great deal of power, with only one knockout from his last seven wins. Those seven victories were all very respectable, including Jono Carroll, Viktor Kotochigov, Ryan Walsh and Kid Galahad. He collected WBC International, British and IBO World titles over the course of his previous five fights.
He is ranked in the top 15 with the WBC and IBF, and holds the IBO World lightweight title, but he hasn’t been a lineal and unified WBA ‘Super’, IBF, WBO World champion like Kambosos has. Interestingly, these two are closely matched in the Ring Magazine’s ratings, with Hughes at #9 and Kambosos at #7.
However, the 33-year-old is enjoying an Indian summer in his career after all seemed lost after his British title knockout defeat to Sam Bowen in 2018. But the determined contender didn’t give up, instead he teamed up with trainer Sean O’Hagan and got back to winning ways, which has led him right here to the biggest fight of his career.
Hughes is the underdog at 11/4 and Kambosos is favourite to win with odds of 3/10. A draw at 16/1 odds is fairly low, so it appears some are left unsure as to who comes out on top in this intriguing contest.
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Kambosos has had that experience at the very top of the world stage. He has gone up against elite fighters in Teofimo Lopez and Devin Haney.
Hughes cannot claim to have experienced that highest echelon and will be up against the hardest opponent of his career so far.
Well-rounded Hughes will make life difficult for Kambosos, I have no doubt, but I envisage the Australian being better in nearly every department, maybe not in defence though.
Kambosos will be on the front foot while Hughes will be moving his upper trunk, holding his guard high and pot shotting back, pivoting to his right constantly.
I just feel that the speed and aggression of Kambosos will be the key factor in getting the win. He should be able to land those shots, not all the time, but enough to be able to wear Hughes down and catch him cleanly at times.
Hughes has been stopped twice before, a long time ago now, but I think the speed of the Aussie will create the same result.
Kambosos to win via stoppage in rounds 5-8