Former unified and lineal lightweight king George Kambosos Jr. is eager to reclaim his throne, but English southpaw Maxi Hughes stands in his way.
Kambosos (20-2, 10 KOs) will fight Hughes (26-5-2, 5 KOs) in a 12-round IBF world title eliminator this Saturday at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Kambosos will be making his Top Rank debut as he sets his sights toward once again becoming champion.
In the 10-round co-feature, U.S. Olympic silver medallist, Keyshawn Davis (8-0, 6 KOs) takes a seismic step up in class against Belgian contender and former European champion, Francesco Patera (28-3, 10 KOs).
Kambosos-Hughes and Davis-Patera will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
The ESPN+-streamed undercard (6:15 p.m ET/3:15 p.m. PT) will feature the ring returns of welterweight contender Giovani Santillan, Oklahoma-born heavyweight Jeremiah Milton and middleweight prospect Troy Isley.
Santillan (30-0, 16 KOs) will face Ecuadorian contender Erick Bone (27-6, 14 KOs) in a 10-round battle, and Milton (9-0, 6 KOs) will make his second appearance of 2023 in an eight-round tilt against Willie Harvey (4-2-2, 3 KOs).
Isley (9-0, 4 KOs), a 2020 U.S. Olympian, will fight in an eight-rounder against Antonio Todd (14-8, 8 KOs).
Two competitive eight-round heavyweight matchups will also be featured on the ESPN+-streamed portion.
Orlando, Florida’s Amron Sands (12-2, 9 KOs) returns against New Zealand’s Hemi Ahio (20-1, 15 KOs), and once-beaten contender Stephan Shaw looks to bounce back against Australia’s Joe Goodall (9-1-1, 8 KOs).
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment and Ferocious Promotions, tickets starting at $39 are on sale at www.stubwire.com.
At Thursday’s press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.
“It’s an absolute pleasure to be here in Oklahoma. I’m very excited. I’m very refreshed because I had three massive fights within 11 months. Big fights take a toll. But I was able to step back, refresh my body, and continue my training. I’m here right now. I’m very excited. I feel fantastic. And we can’t wait to handle business.
“I’ve never been the kind of fighter who says, ‘Oh, I’ve got a loss. It’s taken my confidence away.’ I lost to Devin Haney. I think the boxing world has forgotten that he’s the only guy I’ve lost to. I’ve got to remind them again. We have learned a lot. And we have worked on a lot. But the biggest thing is that I’ve become a greedy motherf***er now. I’m going to take advantage of every hole there is.
“I’m only focused on Maxi Hughes. We give him the utmost respect. He’s here. We know what he’s going to bring. Whatever there is to come, that will be spoken about after Saturday. But for now, there is only man in front of me.
“I’m going to take his head off. That’s what’s going through my mind. I’m ready. I’m looking to absolutely destroy this man in my path.”
“It’s been one of my dreams to fight in the U.S. When you turn professional, you see all the big fights in America and you want to be a part of that. I’ve had my tough times in boxing, and I’ve shown a lot of mental strength. I’ve come through that. I’ve earned my right to be on this stage as the main event.”
“The preparation has gone very well. My training team has been together for five years. After my last fight in September, I gave myself a week off and went back to the gym. I’m a full-time professional. That’s my job. I don’t just train for fights. I train and learn all the time. And then in February, we got the deal done with George. Since then, George’s face and name has been imprinted in my brain. Preparation went well and I’m very confident.”
“You’re going to see something new. You can watch me fight. You can study me. But you got to really know boxing to know the type of fighter that you’re getting in the ring with when you fight me. I’m 8-0. Ya’ll haven’t even seen the best of me yet. Ya’ll will see something new.”
“Every time somebody fights me, it could be a life-changing moment for them. But when they get in the ring, it’s a different story. Just expect the same of what you’ve been seeing out of me.”
“I am very happy to be here and fight in the U.S. This means a lot. I am ready. This can change my life, so I’m going to give it my all on Saturday.”
“If you make a name for yourself in the U.S., you make a name for yourself worldwide. So, a victory will give me a good name.”
“A win will put me in a world title spot. So, this means a lot. I’ve done it before, and I’m sure I can do it again on Saturday.”
“This is my home state. I’m carrying that weight for the whole state when it comes to boxing I represent wherever I go. Whether it’s across the sea or whatever, they always know I’m from Tulsa.”
“I started late in boxing. I’ve come a long way really fast. I only had about 22 or 23 amateur fights. Now I’m coming through among the best in the game right now. No matter what, if you have people doubting you in the past, and you’ve ended up on this stage, they can now watch me perform on this stage.”
“I feel good. I’ve just been training for those 11 months that I’ve been away. I’ve been staying ready, and I’ve been waiting for that call. I’m ready, and I feel good. I’m ready for Saturday.”
“After this Saturday, I can get a big shot. It depends on how I perform. I’m not taking this fight lightly. Erick Bone has fought a lot of good fighters. And I plan on showing that I’m ready for big fights against the big names.”
Saturday, July 22
ESPN, ESPN Deportes & ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT)
George Kambosos Jr. vs. Maxi Hughes, 12 rounds, IBF Lightweight World Title Eliminator
Keyshawn Davis vs. Francesco Patera, 10 rounds, Lightweights
ESPN+ (6:15 p.m. ET/3:15 p.m. PT)
Giovani Santillan vs. Erick Bone, 10 rounds, Welterweights
Jeremiah Milton vs. Willie Harvey, 8 rounds, Heavyweights
Troy Isley vs. Antonio Todd, 8 rounds, Middleweights
Amron Sands vs. Hemi Ahio, 8 rounds, Heavyweights
Stephan Shaw vs. Joe Goodall, 8 rounds, Heavyweights
Credit: Top Rank Boxing