Kambosos Jr 'refreshed' for Hughes after much-needed break

George Kambosos Jr has warned Maxi Hughes he is returning to the ring as a fighter refreshed. 

The Australian fights Hughes on Saturday at the Firelake Arena in Shawnee, Oklahoma on the occasion of his first fight for nine months.

In the 11 months before what almost became a sabbatical he twice fought Devin Haney and once fought Teofimo Lopez.

All three fights – his finest victory, over Lopez, and his first defeats, by Haney – and the promotional demands around them drained him when he was also living through the high that came with establishing himself the world’s undisputed lightweight champion and the low of his first defeat.

He remained in the gym throughout his period of inactivity before intensifying his training in preparation for Hughes having agreed co-promotional terms with Top Rank off the back of his success with Lou DiBella.

The fight with Hughes is also the 30 year old’s first under his new promotional arrangement, and in the event of victory is expected to lead to higher-profile fights with fellow Top Rank lightweights Shakur Stevenson and Vasyl Lomachenko.

“I trained,” he told ProBox TV when asked how he had spent his time since losing his rematch with Haney. “As much as after the second Haney fight I said after, in the press conference, I’d take a bit of time to relax, two days later – wounds all over my face; bruised up – I’m back in my gym. 

“I’ve got a beautiful private gym and I was doing my weights and training. I love training – I live a very, very healthy lifestyle. I eat very, very well. I don’t drink; I don’t party. I don’t do anything that will affect me [negatively].

“I got to enjoy time with the kids and my family. I didn’t have to be in the gym two, three times a day, but I was still there. Able to refresh my body; take my mind off who I’m fighting next. In the space of 11 months I fought Lopez and Haney, twice. 

“To be able to have that time still doing what I love, but, ‘We’re not fighting anyone now – just enjoying our time and the training and being refreshed’, and that’s how I feel. When the time was right, got on the phone. 'Coming back.’”

Hughes, 33, is the underdog, but in his past fight against Kid Galahad won when he might have been expected to record his sixth defeat.

“[In those circumstances] you’re able to work on certain mistakes that I make,” Kambosos Jr continued of the emphasis he was able to place on honing his technique instead of preparing for a specific opponent. “Slow things down. 

“When you’re in camp – especially those 10-to-12 weeks – everything’s a fast pace. When you’re not worried about who you’re going to fight next, you’re able to mentally refresh, and that’s where I’m at right now. In February, March, I started to get quite itchy. ‘Let’s start looking at what’s next.’ We’ve known about this fight [with Hughes] for a fair few months.”