Maxi Hughes has always craved a big win having come up short on a number of occasions. Now he has one, as he sprung the upset and boxed superbly to get the better of former world title challenger Jono Carroll by unanimous decision at the Production Park Studios in South Kirkby, Wakefield, on Wednesday night.
It was scored 96-95 (twice) and 97-93 on the cards and it was no less than Hughes deserved. Carroll (18-2-1, 4 KOs) was the busier fighter, working the body, but when he went headhunting too many of his shots landed on Hughes’ gloves, with the Rossington man landing the cleaner, sharper blows. There were plenty of close rounds, but Hughes was a clear winner, chalking up the first upset from the away corner in the UK since the sport came out of lockdown.
For Carroll, it was billed as a tune-up, as he looks to secure another shot at world glory, off the back of a superb victory over Scott Quigg back in March. But it will be back to the drawing board for ‘King Kong’, as he slipped to an unexpected defeat, albeit to a respected opponent on British shores.
Hughes (21-5-2, 4 KOs) has always targeted the British title and could well find himself in line for another crack at the coveted Lonsdale Belt, currently in the possession of James Tennyson. Also on his radar could be Commonwealth champion Joe Cordina, whilst the European title is now vacant and on the line in a November contest in Finland between Edis Tatli and Gianluca Ceglia.
However, for now, Hughes should be given the chance to bask in his own personal glory after picking up his signature win. He’s earned it.
“It’s about time. I’ve been in with all of the top boys and pushed them all the way, and I always thought am I just going to be a nearly man. I knew I always had it and thought would I ever pull it off, and tonight’s the night,” said a jubilant Hughes afterwards.
“Jono is world class, he just missed out on a world title and has been at that level for a while. Jono brought the best out of me so thanks to him, he was gracious in defeat and is humble, so I really like him.”
A sporting Carroll added: “It was a great fight and very competitive. Maxi’s range is better than I thought it was. There were a few things that went wrong but I won’t give excuses for my loss.
“There’s loads of little things that went wrong, but that’s not taking away from Maxi’s win because he did very well tonight. I couldn’t find my rhythm and my timing wasn’t there tonight. It was a good fight though and I enjoyed it.”
Sean McComb (11-0, 5 KOs) put on an impressive display, as he was too classy for Siar Ozgul (15-4, 3 KOs) over 10 rounds. ‘The Public Nuisance’ looked sharp against the durable Turk, who was outboxed, but couldn’t be faulted for his efforts.
McComb stayed disciplined throughout, although he did suffer a nick by the right eye in the third. He tested Ozgul’s chin on a few occasions, however it was unlikely that Ozgul, who has shared the ring with the likes of Viktor Postol and Anthony Yigit, wasn’t going to be there at the final bell.
McComb’s future looks to be down at lightweight, but he was happy to return at 140lbs and Ozgul provided him with enough of a challenge to shed the rust. The Belfast star cruised to victory in the end on the scorecards, 99-92 and 97-93 (twice) to earn the unanimous decision.
“I feel very fortunate to be out during lockdown. Everybody has done a tremendous job with this event, and I’m very blessed to be back out and showcasing my skills,” said McComb. “I have a fantastic nutritionist and now the plan is to drop to lightweight, and that’s a great weight class. I’m happy to fight anybody. Bang bang gravy chip!”
On the undercard, Craig MacIntyre (12-0-1, 5 KOs) crowned his return to the ring after a year out with a fifth round stoppage win over Ishmael Ellis, who was also down in the fourth. The Scot appeared to be in good form, launching a series of sustained assaults that had Ellis (11-3, 0 KOs) reeling before he was rightly saved from more punishment by referee John Latham.
In the pair of battles between undefeated prospects, Sahir Iqbal (8-0, 1 KO) edged a tight contest by unanimous decision, 77-76, 78-75 and 78-74 on the cards, with Maredudd Thomas (11-1, 2 KOs) to win the WBC youth welterweight strap, whilst Dubliner Pierce O’Leary (5-0, 2 KOs) overwhelmed Jacob Quinn (4-1, 0 KOs), eventually securing the stoppage win with a big left hand in the fourth.
Main image: Scott Rawsthorne/MTK Global.