Maxie Hughes appeared to seize the biggest opportunity of his boxing career late on Saturday night.
Still, the British tennis player lost by majority decision to former unified lightweight champion George Camposos Jr.
During a 12-round ESPN main event televised from FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Hughes, the Englishman, who was looking for this matchup and came to the US to seize this potentially game-changing opportunity, effectively sided with Australian Camposos, but judges Joseph Mason (117-111) and Gerald Ritter (115-113) still rated Camposos as the winner by nine and seven rounds, respectively.
Referee David Sutherland tied the score 114-114.
CompuBox credited Hughes as the one who landed eight more punches than Kambosos (98 of 338 to 90 of 471).
According to an unofficial CompuBox stat, Kambosos connected with more powerful punches (65 of 204 to 53 of 158) and Hughes landed more punches (45 of 180 to 25 of 267). Camposos immediately dismissed the notion that Hughes deserved to win in the post-match interview.
“We won the match in many rounds,” said Camposos. That doesn’t negate Maxie Hughes’ credibility. He’s had some good roles, but some good roles don’t win you the fight. We won most of the rounds.
A depressed Hughes ended his seven-fight winning streak and lost the IBO lightweight belt to Camposos. With a controversial knockout win, Camposos moved up to No. 2 in the IBF 135lbs rankings.
If Devin Haney gives up his IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO lightweight titles to move up to 140 pounds, Camposos could face Argentina’s Gustavo Lemos (28-0, 18 KOs), the IBF’s number one contender, for the unclaimed IBF championship in the next bout.
Kambosos (21-2, 10 KOs) won for the first time since unified lightweight champ, fell undefeated Sydney’s Teofimo Lopez by split decision in November 2021 at the Hulu Theater at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
Haney (30-0, 15 KOs), the undisputed lightweight champion, beat Kambosos in a 12-round head-to-head match in 2022, but Kambosos returned to the ring 3-1 against Hughes.
Hughes (26-6-2, 5 KOs) was the underdog in seven of his last eight matches, but won six of those seven before Camposos edged him out. The 33-year-old veteran lost for the first time on Saturday night since he beat British opponent Liam Walsh (23-1, 15 KOs) via unanimous decision in a 10-round match held in November 2019 in London.
“I was so devastated,” Hughes said. “Nobody thought I was supposed to be in George’s. Tonight I went onto the field and showed I should have put my hand up. I don’t want to take a moment George.
Camposos, 30, hit a forehand kick for the first time since his third professional match.
He struggled with handling Hughes’ clever moves and techniques throughout their fight, and didn’t seem to make the necessary adjustments to win on the scoreboard.
It looked like Camposos needed the knockdown to win the twelfth and final round, but in reality it was Hughes’ light punch that was needed to stop Camposos, who was never knocked out.
Camposos landed a right hand 55 seconds into the 12th round, but it didn’t affect Hughes, who was mostly trying to defend in the final three minutes.
Hughes nearly knocked Camposos out with his hard punches in the final round.
Hughes’ left fielder hit Camposos exposed with just over 30 seconds on the clock in the eleventh inning, which Hughes dominated for the most part. Hughes’ left-handed header landed at 1:05 in the eleventh inning.
A left hander off Hughes connected before the end of the tenth inning. A hit on Hughes’ left side landed with about 25 seconds left in the 10th inning.
Referee Gerard Ritter warned Kambosos for using his forearm in a catch after 10 seconds. He effectively cornered Hughes in the ninth round, repeatedly reaching out with his left hand and missing Camposos’ punches.
Hughes connected with a line on the left and quickly got out of Camposos’ attack range with less than 50 seconds remaining in the eighth round. Hughes’ right hook landed a rally one minute into the eighth inning.
A Kambosos left-hander sent Hughes to the rope with about 35 seconds left in the seventh round. A knockdown left by Hughes dropped her by just over 1:10 to advance to the sixth round.
An unintended collision of the head opened a rough cut above Hughes’ left eye just a minute into the sixth inning. Hughes slid a bunt into top left as Camposos led with just over 20 seconds left in the fifth inning.
Hughes’ left left allowed Camposos to reset his footing with just over 1:50 to go into the fifth inning. Blood began gushing out from the wound on Kamposos’ right eye shortly after.
Camposos’ right side landed with 45 seconds left in the fourth round. Hughes again landed on Camposos’ body with just over a minute left in the fourth round.
Hughes made it against Camposos’ body holding Hughes with less than 20 seconds on the clock in the third round.
Hughes’ top left connected before the end of the third inning. Camposos knocked Hughes down with a right hand just a minute into the third round. Camposos held Hughes with a right hand as Hughes took the lead before halftime.
Another Hughes straight connects just over 30 seconds into the second run. Hughes’ right touchdown landed with just over 1:15 on the clock in the second half.
A left Hughes fell to Camposos’ body as Camposos charged forward with just a few seconds left in the first round. Hughes ‘left to Camposos’ and his right hook to the head connected as the opening half was less than a minute away. A direct hit by Hughes hit about 1:10 into the first period.
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