Maxi Hughes, a lightweight, had wanted to fight Ryan Garcia last weekend in Los Angeles. Elliot Worsell reports that instead, he considers meeting fellow Yorkshireman Kid Galahad in September.
Maxi Hughes couldn’t have found it easy to watch Ryan Garcia battle Javier Fortuna last Saturday knowing that only a few short weeks prior, he had the chance to compete against Garcia, one of boxing’s biggest names.
The great chance Hughes had been waiting for would have presented itself had the fight taken place. It would have been his opportunity to make an international debut after dominating the domestic scene since 2020. But unfortunately, it was not to be due to circumstances beyond his control.
“Garcia personally reached out to me on Instagram,” Hughes told Boxing News. “They were trying to make the Isaac Cruz fight and his message to me was: ‘Isaac Cruz looks like he’s going to bitch out of this fight. So if you want the fight on July 16, let me know.’
“So I screenshotted it and sent it to my manager and he then forwarded it to Eddie (Hearn, promoter) and we’ve never had a quicker response from Eddie to anything. Eddie told me how to respond and we told Golden Boy to contact Matchroom and they’d get it on, no messing around.
“Within a few days they sent Matchroom an offer, which I would have taken, but the offer was turned down. The next thing I know Fortuna has taken the first offer and they’re fighting him instead. What a kick in the teeth that was. The opportunity to headline in America would have been great.”
Hughes, who is now eager to forget about it, could battle again against domestic competition in his next match, which could take place in late September or early October. It is likely that Kid Galahad, a fellow Yorkshireman who is 28-2 (17) and a featherweight with whom Hughes, a lightweight, has a history, will be his opponent in what will be pro fight 33.
“I know the fight has been offered and we said, ‘Yeah, so long as the terms are on our side,’” said Hughes. “I spoke to my manager today and he’s predicting 24th September, which is fine by me. But if the rumours are true about (Conor) Benn and (Chris) Eubank Jnr on October 8, I wouldn’t mind being on that bill. As a fan, I’d like to be part of that.
“I first read about his (Galahad) interest in the fight a few weeks back when (Dominic) Ingle (Galahad’s trainer) did an interview and said offers had been made to Maxi and both parties are in agreement that the fight would happen. But at that time we weren’t. We were still in talks with Garcia and Golden Boy about that fight. So, I don’t know where that came from.
“But now, because I didn’t get the Garcia fight, I think Matchroom thought, Yeah, actually that’s a good fight. It seems like the English are getting what they want because Matchroom are telling me this is the only offer they’ve got for us.”
Jazza Dickens is assaulted by Galahad (Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing)
Hughes was already upset about the Garcia scenario, but the possibility of facing Galahad next has only served to make him more upset. Galahad, after all, is a fighter with a murky past who was brutally knocked out in the first round of his most recent match by Spain’s Kiko Martinez.
“I’ll still get up for the fight because it’s a good fight, but it just annoys me that he gets the chance to choose who he wants to fight,” said Hughes, 25-5-2 (5). “That’s what pisses me off about it.
“There’s a lot of history between Josh (Warrington, Hughes’ gym mate) and Sean (O’Hagan, Hughes’ trainer) and him (Galahad) and Dominic (Ingle). Also, there’s the fact he got banned for taking steroids (in 2015, Galahad tested positive for the banned substance stanozolol, an anabolic steroid). I don’t like that.
“The positives are that I’m fighting a former IBF (featherweight) champion who was world champion in his last fight and is a good fighter. I’ll come out of it with a former world champion on my record and it should do me well in terms of my ranking with the IBF. Hopefully a win against him will push me further up and get me closer to fighting for a title.
“But he doesn’t sell and he’s just so negative. I know I can beat him, but I also know it will be a frustrating night’s work. I spared him years ago and know what he’s like. He starts standing on your feet, grabbing hold, and using dirty tactics. The money’s all right, it’s a good payday, but it just feels a bit like I’ve been forced into a corner. I’ve got all this good momentum, which Eddie (Hearn) has helped build up for me, but now it seems like the Maxi train is not going forward, it’s parked in the station.”
However, if there is one thing you can count on with Maxi Hughes, it is that he will arrive prepared, on time, and with a winning attitude. Let’s not forget that he spent a significant portion of his career fighting in the shadows, where opportunities for favors or advantages were few and far between. He wins fights now mostly because he is a skilled fighter, not because he is motivated by his opponent or the situation. He wins because he must win and because he has developed a winning habit in recent years. He triumphs because he has experienced defeat.
“I’m well up for it,” said the 32-year-old. “I told my missus, ‘This will be good karma vs bad karma. Good vs evil.’ He takes steroids and cheats and karma got him with Kiko. I’m a good person and karma will be on my side again. It would be nice to ‘Kiko’ him, like.”
Everyone was shocked by Galahad’s KO loss against Martinez (Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing).