Maxi Hughes not finished with the fight game just yet

He had walked away from the ring but the belief he could still win major honours has drawn Maxi Hughes back in.

Tuesday, 2nd July 2019, 15:02 pm
Maxi Hughes

The Rossington fighter will make his return to action on Saturday night for the first time in 15 months as he faces the unbeaten Kieran McLaren in an English lightweight title eliminator at The Dome.

For the first half of his ring exile, he had decided the time was up on his career, preferring instead to focus on family life with the birth of his daughter.

Hughes suffered defeat in his bid for the vacant British super featherweight crown against Sam Bowen after the ringside doctor stopped the bout due to an eye injury - an outcome which left a sour taste for the fighter.

But by the end of 2018 he had made the decision to return with a feeling of unfulfilled promise nagging away.

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“I was done with it all,” Hughes told the Free Press.

“It was so disappointing to lose that last fight the way I did, with the doctor ending it, that I'd had enough.

“So for at least six months I’d retired. I just wanted to focus on the new baby and get away from it all.

“But I then had this feeling that I’d not achieved all I can in boxing. I'm still convinced that I can win titles at British, Commonwealth or European level.

“I couldn’t have stayed away without having one more go at it and seeing if I can do that.

"So I've been back at it since the end of last year and I’m ready to go.”

Hughes was expected to return earlier this year only for stringent medical procedures under the guidance of the British Boxing Board of Control to deny him the opportunity to fight in March.

With no issues, he has been cleared for this weekend as he looks to hand McLaren his first defeat.

McLaren had won his 11 previous fights before drawing with Rotherham's Lee Appleyard last time out.

Hughes said: “I’m hoping he comes to fight and shows some ambition.

“I’ve not seen the Lee Appleyard fight but I’ve been told he sat back and Lee was unlucky not to win it.

“I hope that he comes with some ambition and has a go.

"I want to come back with a bang and make a bit of a statement to set me off on the right track.”

The 29-year-old is now based in Wakefield and has started training with Sean O’Hagan, dad and coach of IBF featherweight champion Josh Warrington.

O’Hagan will be in his corner for the first time on Saturday night, alongside long time trainer Jimmy Harrington of the Freedom Gym in Lindholme.

Hughes said: "It's worked out well for me with me living in Wakefield now and it's a great camp to be around with Josh winning his world title fight recent and Reece Mould winning th English title.

“Sean will be the lead in my corner at the weekend with Jimmy in there too.

“I’ve still be going to Lindholme for sparring with Jimmy Joe Flint who also fights on Saturday so it'll be a good night.

“I’m ready to get going and really kick on this year.

“I’ve told Stefy [Bull, manager] that I'll be staying in the gym so I’ll be ready if anything comes up at short notice.

"I’d like to get at last a couple more in before the end of the year.”

Also on the bill, unbeaten Bentley fighter Jamie Hughes will compete in his second fight since his five year absence from the ring when he faces Zach Thompson.

Jimmy Joe Flint will look for a seventh straight win when he takes on the experienced Lee Connelly while Balby's Lewis Booth is set to face Danny Little.

Woodlands' Jack Roberts is up against Andy Harris in his second professional bout.