Both were out to prove the doubters wrong but Doncaster’s Maxi Hughes failed in his bid to overcome Martin J Ward in Leeds on Saturday night.
The pair had met in December in a contentious ten rounder that ended in a majority draw but it was much clearer cut this time as Ward forced Hughes into submission in just five rounds, with hughes having suffered a broken nose. Hughes had twice decked Ward in the first contest but neither were actual knockdowns and none of the three judges scored it his way anyway.
This bout, now for the WBC super featherweight international title, presented both men with the chance to prove who was the better and Ward decisively did so.
Ward, an Essex-based traveller, can lay claim to being born in Leeds but Hughes felt this had only been brought up this time to give him some sort of home advantage at the First Direct Arena.It was Hughes who was made to feel lost when he was announced as being from Pontefract by the Master of Ceremonies but he started the better before former amateur star Ward slowly took over against the Rossington southpaw, 25.
Hughes landed with some straight shots in the opening round but the turning point came in the fourth when the pair clashed heads and a swelling emerged on Hughes’ face.
It went from bad to worse a round later when Ward’s class began to prevail and he bust Hughes’ nose up with a right uppercut.
Hughes managed to make it through the round but had a resigned look on his face when he was pulled out of the contest by his trainer Dave Hulley.
Ingle-trained Bob Ajisafe scored his seventh straight win at light-heavyweight on the same bill. British champion Ajisafe, 29, stopped Georgian George Kandelaki in the second round and now has a record of 15 wins from 17 contests.