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July 10, 2023
By: Kirk Jackson
A former ruling “Emperor” and an emerging prodigy aim to seize the spotlight, as part of an action-packed lightweight doubleheader in one of the sport’s most competitive divisions.
Former unified and lineal lightweight world champion George Kambosos Jr. (20-2, 10 KO’s) will compete in a 12-round IBF world title eliminator against southpaw Maxi Hughes (26-5-2, 5 KO’s) on Saturday, July 22, at FireLake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma.
Also, on this lightweight studded affair, in the 10-round co-feature, U.S. Olympic silver medalist Keyshawn Davis (8-0, 6 KO’s) aims to step up in class against Belgian contender, and former European champion Francesco Patera (28-3, 10 KO’s).
“George Kambosos Jr. is still one of the lightweight division’s premier attractions, and he has the chance to get right back to title contention with a win over an upset-minded Maxi Hughes,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.
“Keyshawn Davis, in less than 10 fights, is already a contender and has all the makings of a future superstar. This is a sensational lightweight doubleheader for the fans in Shawnee and everyone watching on ESPN.”
“George insisted on a meaningful fight to begin his comeback. He’s never taken the easy route,” said Lou DiBella, President of DiBella Entertainment.
“Maxi Hughes is a legit top 10 lightweight and a high-risk fight for George coming off two losses against Devin Haney. This will be an IBF world title elimination bout and George will also challenge for Maxi’s IBO lightweight world title. For Maxi, this is the opportunity he’s been fighting for. This is his chance to prove that all of those fights he won as the underdog meant something.”
“I am extremely excited and motivated to make a serious statement against Maxi Hughes in my return fight in the United States, the Mecca of boxing, live on ESPN and Main Event PPV in Australia,” Kambosos said.
“Having fought the best lightweight boxers in the world, I now know I have become an even better fighter and have added further artillery and weapons to my overall fight game. Maxi Hughes is a good boxer, a tough Englishman, and I’m sure he will try his best, but I know and he knows that his best will not be enough. Hughes is not elite, and when you have been in there with elite boxers like I have, you pick up on the mistakes in a boxer like Hughes. I will claim his IBO world title and the IBF world title eliminator position on July 22.”
Hughes for his part, is a 33-year-old veteran, hailing from the United Kingdom. He secured his first British title by defeating Ryan Moorhead in 2017. In his second bid for a British title, he suffered a stoppage loss to Sam Bowen in 2018 before handing Kieron McLaren his first setback defeat the following year.
Also on his resume is WBO European titlist Liam Walsh, Kazakh standout Viktor Kotochigov and former world champion Kid Galahad.
“I’m excited to realize my dream of fighting in the USA and to showcase my skills to a new audience,” Hughes said. “I’ll do what’s necessary to get the win.”
24-year-old Davis is coming off a dominant performance over Anthony Yigit in which he scored a ninth-round TKO. Davis looks to continue his ascension through the lightweight rankings.
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“I belong with all the top lightweights, and Patera is the next one in the way. And just like my eight opponents before him, Patera will have no answer for what I’m bringing to the table,” Davis said.
“This is going to be a brutal night for him, however long it lasts.”
Patera is an eight-year pro from Belgium. The 30-year-old has won 10 straight fights and is coming off a first-round knockout against Irakli Shariashvili in April.
“I am coming to Shawnee to put on a spectacular performance, defeat Keyshawn Davis, and show everyone that I belong on the world stage,” Patera said.
The ESPN+-streamed undercard will feature the ring returns of welterweight contender Giovani Santillan, Oklahoma-born heavyweight Jeremiah Milton and middleweight prospect Troy Isley.
Kambosos-Hughes and Davis-Patera will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with DiBella Entertainment and Ferocious Promotions, tickets starting at $39 go on sale Monday, June 5 at 10 a.m. CST via www.stubwire.com.