Sam Maxwell scored the biggest win of his professional career, as he claimed a unanimous points decision over former European champion Joe Hughes in their super lightweight ten-rounder at the BT Sport Studios in London.
It was a close fight throughout. The more work came from Maxwell, who generally led off and had success with straight shots. But at times the quality shots were from Hughes, who found holes in Maxwell’s defence and was never fazed when under attack.
Michael Alexander scored it 98-92, which seemed wide, while Marcus McDonnell and Terry O’Connor both had it 97-94.
But it was a fight with lots of tight rounds. Maxwell forced the pace and had success with the right. Hughes looked comfortable at close quarters and found Maxwell an easy target with the left jab and hook early on.
Maxwell, who was making the second defence of his “WBO European” title, upped the pace in the third and got through with a hard right hand, but Hughes landed a left hook early in the fourth and was picking Maxwell off.
Maxwell twice went the distance with Vassily Lomachenko in the World Series of Boxing and he pressed the pace again in the fifth, switching the attack to the body, which made Hughes step back for the first time. The smaller Hughes often ducked low to stay tight and lept out with his left hook or jab.
By the sixth round, Maxwell was getting better at timing Hughes’s attack and countering over the top with a right and he started to get on top by leading off and landing one-twos, while Hughes was having to work harder to land.
Hughes was still in the fight, though, and he caught Maxwell with two good body shots early in the ninth round and dominated the round, despite Maxwell’s attempts to force him backwards. But Maxwell finished the stronger and ground out his victory.
“If I made any mistakes he has a left hook that could knock out anyone in the division,” Maxwell said. “From the first round I was switched on to make sure he landed the least shots possible.
“I boxed one of the top lads in Britain and that bought the best out of me. I’m glad he gave me the opportunity to fight him. I felt I boxed really well, I’m really, really happy with my performance.”
Hughes did not argue with the decision, but hinted that his days of top-level boxing might be coming to an end.
“I’ve had the EBU title and in my opinion the only thing bigger than that would be a world title,” Hughes said. “I’m not going to get a world title shot now, am I? So I’ll go back to the drawing board and see what happens. Who knows?”
In the show opener, David Adeleye continued his winning start to his pro career as the London heavyweight stopped Phil Williams in the third round of a scheduled four.
It was a second appearance for both Adeleye and Williams at the BT Sport Studio this summer. Both were on the very first show, post-lockdown, Adeleye beat Matt Gordon, Williams lost to Dorin Krasmaru, who like Adeleye is a sparring partner of Daniel Dubois.
Williams, notably, came in nearly seven pounds heavier than last month and looked wary from the opening bell, trying to hold and smother and not really seeking for any openings.
Adeleye landed a good right and a left hook in the first round and when Adeleye got through with two rights early in the second, Williams looked to hold again. From the rest of the second round, Adeleye just punched Williams around the ring, Williams moving backwards behind a high guard and trying not to get trapped on the ropes.
The third round was more of the same, with Williams throwing next to nothing, while Adeleye found the target repeatedly. A right hook had Williams hurt and Adeleye opened up, following up with another right and a crunching left hook, before referee Alexander jumped in. The time was 2:10 of the third round.
“I was happy,” Adeleye said. “My coach was saying ‘relax, take your time’. I took my time more this time. I know I have got a good jab, so I thought there is no way this guy who is three stone heavier than me is going to be able to avoid my jab. So I kept feeding it to him sooner or later the other shots are coming.”