Maxi Hughes won a scrappy affair against Kid Galahad to keep a hold of his IBO lightweight title and continue an impressive resurgence in the sport.
Galahad returned to the ring following a shocking knockout loss to Spain’s Kiko Martinez. The Sheffield based fighter jumped up two weight classes for this lightweight bout, coming in at a career heaviest.
Maxi Hughes entered the arena buoyant from a six-fight win streak in a career that has seen him fall short in the past.
The fight never quite caught fire, with Hughes fighting out of his southpaw stance and Galahad orthodox with one or two switches to southpaw in the middle rounds. Referee Marcus McDonnell had an ongoing dialogue with Galahad about clinching, pushing and, ultimately, leading with the head, for which he deducted a point in the tenth.
At his best, Hughes was moving in to score some bigger shots and dipping out in time to miss any retaliation. Galahad, despite the jump in weight, handled the pace well throughout but often struggled to build on his jab.
The pairing of two counter-attacking styles never quite gelled, and neither fighter looked to unload too often, perhaps with the danger of another loss looming in their minds. It was a battle of jabs and distance for much of the fight, with the action increasing in pace towards the end.
The eleventh added a bit of intrigue with both fighters willing to trade. Galahad’s work opened a cut over Hughes’ left eye which will take some looking at. It all culminated in a final round which both were desperate to take.
The official scorecards had one draw and two in favour of the champion. 114-114, 114-113, and 116-111. When the numbers were read out in the Nottingham Arena, Galahad left the ring sharpish followed by his team and trainer, Dominic Ingle.
Following his victory, Hughes and his promoter, Eddie Hearn, expressed interest in a big-money US fight, with Ryan Garcia mentioned as a potential opponent.
Elsewhere on the card, Terri Harper boxed Scotland’s Hannah Rankin to a unanimous decision victory, winning the WBA super welterweight belt.