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‘Beneath me’ – Maxi Hughes on potential Gary Cully fight

Maxi Hughes believes Matchroom were trying to force him into a fight with an Irish fighter he felt was ‘beneath’ him last year.

The English fighter was continually linked to Irish favourite Gary Cully throughout early 2023 and was seen by fans as the ideal Katie Taylor Homecoming opponent for ‘The Diva’.

Apparently, Matchroom were of a similar thinking and had offered the fight to Hughes, indeed they made it a stipulation of any contract extension.

However, with promises of a ‘life-changing fight’ ringing in his ear since he’d defeated Kid Galahad, the English fighter, who relaunched his career with an upset win over Jono Carroll, wasn’t happy with the Cully stipulation.

Although some would agree the element of risk was higher than the potential reward for Hughes, ‘Maximius’ felt it was a fight below him – and thus set about getting a different fight for himself.

The 33-year-old did secure a pay day via fight with former unified world champion George Kambosos Jr while Naas’s Cully ended up losing to Jose Felix Jr on the undercard of Katie Taylor versus Chantelle Cameron.

“I took care of business against Kid Galahad and all the conversations after that were about securing me this big life-changing fight, going to America and getting me a fight with a name.” Hughes begins when discussing the Cully links and that period in 2023.

“Ryan Garcia was talked about a lot, or even bringing a huge American name to the UK. It was all about this life-changing money fight and I was thinking ‘this is great’. It was everything I ever wanted out of boxing. At that point, my contract had run out but I was assured by my manager and Eddie that the new contract was coming.

“The new contract came in February of 2023 and it felt like a massive kick in the bollocks,” he continues.

“The first fight of the contract had to be against Gary Cully in Ireland, in his back garden. I just thought I’d worked way too hard to fight someone beneath me. I cleared up domestically, I’d been top of the three, and I had been for a while. I was told by Matchroom that that was the only fight they could make there was no one else in the lightweight division they could get. I didn’t believe that and I went about getting my own fight.”

Cully since bounced back from the Felix defeat with a win over Huhges’ stable mate Reece Mould in the 3Arena in November. He appears to be back on ‘next big thing’ track and is lining up a big 2024.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years