George Kambosos Jr escaped with an incredibly controversial majority decision win over Maxi Hughes tonight thanks to the judges in Oklahoma, including one score card that was as bad as any you’ll ever see.
Judges had the fight 114-114, 115-113, and then an absurd 117-111 from Josef Mason, whose experience has been mainly in low-level fights taking place in Colorado.
The controversial victory means that Kambosos (21-2, 10 KO) jumps into the IBF’s No. 2 ranking at lightweight, as this was an eliminator. Gustavo Lemos holds the No. 1 spot, and with many now expecting Devin Haney to vacate his four lightweight titles and move up in weight, Kambosos could be in against Lemos for the IBF title soon.
Bad Left Hook unofficially scored the fight 115-113 and 117-111 for Hughes. ESPN’s Mark Kriegel had it 117-111 for Hughes.
The crowd did largely boo his win.
“We won the fight, we won the fight by many rounds, but that’s no discredit to Maxi Hughes. He had a couple good rounds, but a couple good rounds doesn’t win you a fight,” Kambosos said.
“We won the majority of rounds, and look, that’s the reason we chose him, it was a hard test. We wanted to take a test like him, a champion, a guy who’s been on a big win streak. He’s rated all over the sanctioning bodies. This was a hard challenge, and big credit to Maxi Hughes. I got through this fight. I believe the majority of the rounds, I won. I move to the next step.”
Kambosos said he’d prefer to revisit a fight with Vasiliy Lomachenko, whom he was meant to face in 2022 before the war in Ukraine put a stop to that, with Devin Haney replacing Lomachenko.
“Styles make fights, and we’re happy to get this great win tonight,” Kambosos said. “Shakur Stevenson is a great fighter. Vasiliy Lomachenko, we were meant to do it (before), and I believe that’s the next fight to be done.”
Kambosos became very practical when asked about a Hughes rematch.
“Look, this is for the IBF eliminator, so our next step is the IBF world title. But I’ll get that IBF title, and I know he’ll bounce back. He’s a tough challenger! This guy, because he wasn’t as known in the world, don’t discredit him, he’s a tough challenger. It was an honor to share the ring with him, and yes, if the opportunity’s there, we’ll give him a rematch.”
To be clear, nobody in the world is “discrediting” Hughes other than the judges.
Kambosos vs Hughes highlights
Maxi Hughes lands a big body shot in R3 pic.twitter.com/fUW4intTFR— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 23, 2023
Keyshawn Davis UD-10 Francesco Patera
Scores were 99-90, 100-89, and 100-89. On our two unofficial cards, we had it 99-90 and 100-89 for Davis, so it was a pretty easy fight to score.
It was a fascinatingly silent crowd for the most part during this fight, other than a brief “USA” chant — you show that Belgian! — after Davis (9-0, 6 KO) got a knockdown in round eight.
Patera (28-4, 10 KO) basically did the job he was realistically signed up to do, hang around and give some rounds if he could, give Keyshawn some work, and then, you know, lose without ever being much of a threat to not lose.
But it’s a win for Davis over a solid veteran opponent, and a step further for him as he looks to get into the world title mix. If Devin Haney decides to vacate at 135 to move up to 140 — and he might — then there will be four belts scattered, and Top Rank will likely muscle their way into the mix for two.
“I give myself, like, a C-plus, B-minus, but we got the win, that’s all that matters,” Davis said, noting he was having some stomach issues. “I can’t really be too hard on myself for not stopping these guys, because they’ve got way more experience than me. But I’m beating these guys every round by unanimous decision.
“So I just gotta take my hat off for just doing the little things like that, sticking to my game plan, listening to my coach, and just having fun in there.”
Undercard highlights and results
- Giovani Santillan UD-10 Erick Bone (97-93, 97-92, 98-92): Well, first things first, this was a much closer, more competitive fight than those scores are going to make you think. I had this edged for Santillan (31-0, 16 KO) at 96-94, but I could have seen it going to Bone (27-7, 14 KO), and giving Bone two rounds is silly as hell, but this is boxing, this is Top Rank, as they love to say 57 times a night. (“Boxing” obviously extends far beyond Top Rank, but this is a Top Rank show, so they get the dig.)
Santillan, 30, still doesn’t look like a serious contender to me, but we said beforehand that Bone has been a tough out for a lot of guys in the past, and he still was one here. He’s had the short end before and got it again in this one, which is too bad, but that’s this business-sport. Again, don’t have a problem that Santillan one, I thought he gutted it out legit, but the judges were apparently not even giving Bone much honest chance.
Turning up the dials into the final rounds pic.twitter.com/kA2SvOHnd9— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 23, 2023
- Jeremiah Milton TKO-4 Willie Harvey (3:00): Gotta agree with Tim Bradley that Milton (10-0, 7 KO) is simply not a prospect. He’s 29, this is two straight fights on ESPN(+) airwaves where he just has not impressed despite technically sort of dominating. There’s no sizzle to his game, no “it” factor, and we’re talking pretty low-level fights, especially here. All respect to “Lump-Lump,” and I’d love to know where he got those shades he was sporting because they looked great, but Willie Harvey is now 4-3-2 (3 KO) and is 38 years old with zero wins against anyone who’d ever won a fight before. Milton got a stoppage because the Harvey corner reasonably figured there was no point to continuing. But Milton is neither exciting nor promising, if we’re being honest.
- Troy Isley UD-8 Antonio Todd (79-73, 79-73, 79-73): Troy Isley had a boxing match against Antonio Todd and was expected to win easily. Troy Isley then went on to win easily. Troy Isley now has a professional record of 10 and zero with four knock-outs. Antonio Todd now has a professional record of 14 and nine with eight knock-outs.
- Hemi Ahio TKO-6 Amron Sands (2:12): Ahio, like Goodall, came over with the Kambosos crew, and also wins his second straight after losing to Faiga Opelu last November. The 33-year-old Ahio is now 21-1 (15 KO) and while he has pretty clear limitations in terms of being a contender — small for a heavyweight, not so skilled that he can cancel that out — he is pretty fun to watch. Sands (12-3, 9 KO) had a massive size advantage, but Ahio just kept chopping away until he broke him down and got the stoppage.
Back-to-back Heavyweight stoppages in Shawnee pic.twitter.com/u9iQsQiB2S— Top Rank Boxing (@trboxing) July 22, 2023
- Joe Goodall TKO-6 Stephan Shaw (2:55): Shaw had a makeshift main event on ESPN in January. He got a lot of criticism in his loss to Efe Ajagba, which was a lousy fight from both guys. He apparently told Tim Bradley that he was going to more aggressive this time out, and Bradley felt Shaw having camo shorts was a real game-changer. Shaw did throw more, but also got hit a lot, and the getting hit and the throwing both led to him being pretty gassed by the fifth. He was down twice in the sixth before the corner stopped it with him on his feet. Shaw is 30 and you never want to say “never,” because that’s not old for a heavyweight at all, but at 18-2 (13 KO) with two straight losses against his two best opponents — which isn’t saying a ton — the dream of him being a contender is shot for now. Goodall improves to 10-1-1 (9 KO), and has now won two straight after a loss to Justis Huni in June 2022.