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Dubai delight for Maxi Hughes

Maxi Hughes
Maxi Hughes is victorious but Liverpool’s Blane Hyland comes unstuck against Egyptian Mo Salah, writes Andy Whittle

LESS than two months after outscoring Dubliner Jono Carroll to secure his best career success to date, Rossington lightweight Maxi Hughes was back in action. He swapped the miserable weather in South Yorkshire for the UAE, where at Caesars Palace in Dubai on Friday (October 9) he triumphed once more over 10, a unanimous points victory coming his way against previously unbeaten Kazakh Viktor Kotochigov.

There was little to separate the pair in the opener but Kotochigov, with 12 victories already in the bag, was maybe a little bit busier in the second half of the round. Any early confidence though was checked in the next when hot on the heels of a straight shot, southpaw Maxi whipped in a left uppercut to leave the Kazakh a touch unsteady and another left a minute or so later had a similar effect.

Confidence growing, and with Kotochigov still looking somewhat nonplussed, Maxi really began to turn the screw in the third. After twice tagging him he sent Viktor to the seat of his shorts with another left uppercut.

The Kazakh, having walked onto the shot, made as if to rise immediately but quickly thought better of it and instead took a knee while Spanish referee Francisco Alloza Rosa counted before rejoining the affray.

Breakthrough made, there was no let up from Hughes on the resumption. Following a particularly sustained spell of pressure, it momentarily looked as if the third man might just have decided that enough was enough but his brief intervention, with the bell approaching, was perhaps just a reaction to the ten seconds remaining signal. Nonetheless, it was as confusing as it was unnecessary and it probably saved the under fire Kotochigov from being halted.

A straight left in the fourth emphasised Maxi’s growing authority though he wasn’t particularly helped by the fact that during that session he almost lost his footing after slipping on a patch of water in his opponent’s corner.

Though behind and with a growing swelling on his cheekbone, Viktor did make a better fist of it in the second half of the contest and scored with a decent right in the sixth. Overall, Maxi’s early superiority, coupled with that knockdown, meant that the fair-haired man from Almaty was always playing catch-up.

The Spanish referee scored 96-93 for Maxi at the finish while the two judges scored 97-92 and 95-94.

Liverpool southpaw Blane Hyland, a distance winner in his first three paid contests, came off second best in his maiden outing over six with oft-wild Dubai-based Mohamed Salah Abdelghany deservedly picking up a unanimous points win.

The 30-year-old Egyptian might not score particularly highly for style but his pressing tactics proved effective and though a fair percentage of what he threw fell either wide or short of its intended target, enough hit home for him to register something of a surprise win against the former Salisbury ABC amateur.

After remaining on the offensive for the majority of the opener Abdelghany enjoyed his best spell early in the next when having begun with a left upstairs he forced Blane to the ropes, clattering him with a trio of rights to make the Liverpudlian’s knees dip momentarily and to leave him holding.

There were no more major alarms for Hyland who as well as landing a couple of decent left uppercuts often countered after the off-balance Abdelghany missed. The terrier-like local puncher just kept coming though: A fine right cross late in the fourth and two more heavy rights in the next meant that Blane needed to find something special down the straight. He did come out swinging and with deft footwork ensured that there was plenty more missing from Mohamed but the result, which took an age to be announced, came as no surprise. Scores at the finish read 58-56 twice and a closer 58-57, all in favour of the shorter Abdelghany.

The Verdict Maxi marches on but Hyland was left disappointed.

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