Boxing: Maxi’s ready to silence critics in Ward re-match

Maxi Hughes
Maxi Hughes

Should Maxi Hughes win the WBC International super featherweight title on Saturday night, he will immediately post a picture of his new belt on Twitter.

It will not be an act of bravado or arrogance, but rather to send a simple message: doubters, you were wrong.

The Rossington fighter faces the highly-fancied Martin J Ward for the second time in Leeds this weekend.

Their first bout in December ended as a controversial draw with many feeling Hughes had a case to cry robbery in Ward’s home town.

Ward – backed by the muscle of promotional heavyweight Matchroom Boxing – was expected to pass the test posed by Hughes but did not.

And Hughes feels once again that he is being underestimated as he prepares to lock horns once more.

“Again I’m operating under the radar, the underdog and everyone expects Ward to win,” Hughes told the Free Press. “I don’t mind that at all.

“I just can’t wait to get back in the dressing room on Saturday night and stick a picture of that belt up on Twitter.

“There’s a lot of people on there that are going to be proved wrong after some of the things that have been said to me on there.

“It’s surprising that people aren’t taking me seriously after the first fight.

“But all the talk has been that it was Ward having an off night rather than me being any good.

“People expect him to be a lot better and get the job done this time.

“I really don’t mind being the underdog because it’ll be all the sweeter when I win.

“I know that I won last time and I’m going to make sure there is no doubt about it this time.”

With their Essex fighter unlikely to get a warm reception in Leeds, Matchroom made the surprise revelation that Ward was actually born in the West Yorkshire city.

And Hughes – who will backed by a 300 strong following from Rossington – believes it shows the doubts are setting in among his rival’s camp.

He said: “It’s insecurity, it’s as simple as that.

“He feels as though he has to do that to make sure he’s got all bases covered.

“It shows he’s having little doubts about this.

“It wouldn’t surprise me one bit if they announce him as being from Leeds on the night, just to get that crowd behind him.

“But you only have to listen to us both to know which one of us is really from Yorkshire.

“If he’s got this insecurity, it’ll play right into my hands.”

Hughes took a longer than normal break from work to prepare for the bout and says he was ready to go a fortnight ago while new sponsorship has aided his training camp.

He said: “I’ve been ticking over since we fought the first time.

“I found out about the rematch a week after the first fight and I got straight on it after Christmas.

“I’m in very good shape. It’s been a great camp and I’ve had some great sparring.

“I was ready two weeks ago and I just can’t wait to get in there.

“I wish it was sooner than Saturday.”