Australia’s former unified lightweight world champion George Kambosos has returned to winning ways with a controversial victory over Englishman Maxi Hughes.
It was Kambosos’ first fight since back-to-back defeats to Devin Haney and the man they call ‘Ferocious’ was made to work for it but he bounced back with a hard-fought win in Oklahoma.
Kambosos, 30, took Hughes’ IBO world title and improved his record to 21-2. He’s now the mandatory challenger for the IBF belt.
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Hughes was on top in the opening rounds but Kambosos worked his way into the fight and ended the Yorkshireman’s seven-fight winning streak.
The cards read 114-114 115-113 117-111 with one commentator calling the latter scorecard “ridiculous” and a “disgusting” result.
“Who the hell was watching that fight,” another said.
Boos rang out as Kambosos was announced the winner but the champ was adamant he won.
“We won the fight, we won the fight by many rounds but that’s no discredit to Maxi Hughes,” he said inside the ring.
“He had a couple of good rounds but a couple of good rounds doesn’t win you a fight. We won the majority of rounds, that’s the reason we chose him, he’s a hard test. A lot of guys were coming off losses but we wanted to take a test like him.
“He’s a champion, he was on a big win streak, he’s rated by all the bodies, this was a hard challenge and big credit to Max Hughes.
“Styles make fights, we got this great win tonight and picked up a new world title to add to the collection and we’ll sit back with the team now.”
Kambosos said his focus is now on the IBF title but didn’t shut down a rematch.
“This was for the IBF eliminator so our next step is the IBF world title, so I’ll go and get that but he’s going to bounce back, he’s a tough challenger and it was an honour to share the ring with him,” Kambosos said.
“If the opportunity is there, we’ll give him another rematch.”
It’s been 20 months since Kambosos shocked the fight world – upsetting then undisputed lightweight king Teofimo Lopez – and he’s now back on track to return to the top of the division.
Hughes was left devastated with the result but was gracious in defeat.
“It were a bit of a kick in the bollocks if I’m honest. Now I feel stupid stood here in the cowboy hat,” Hughes said inside the ring.
“I don’t want to take George’s moment, but I’m gutted.
“I don’t know what the judges were seeing.”
Earlier on the card, Aussie heavyweight Joe Goodall scored a massive upset win over American Stephan Shaw.
The stellar performance improved Goodall’s record to 10-1-1 with his only loss coming against fellow Aussie Justis Huni.
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