What’s Next for McGregor, Hughes & Masoud?
By Oliver McManus
Bolton has become the new base for MTK Global’s UK cards during this third wave of the pandemic and what a fantastic first few shows it has hosted.
On Friday night the attention was firmly on Lee McGregor who was looking to become European bantamweight champion in only his tenth fight. As always there is plenty to discuss and dissect in the immediate aftermath and, here, we take a look at what could be next for the winners on the show.
McGregor, the headline man, looked superfluous to rip away the title from Guerfi: dropping his French opponent on three occasions in the first round. The defending champion was pasted by some filthy body shots – the first just 50 seconds into the contest and crumpling Guerfi to the canvas. McGregor hone in on his target and was merciless in his pursuit; two knockdowns later and the contest was suitably waved off by John Latham.
Calls will, naturally, heighten for the European, British and Commonwealth champion to grant Kash Farooq a rematch in what would be a fantastic fight for Scottish boxing. Farooq rightly felt hard done by after the pair first met in November 2019: Farooq losing his Commonwealth title in a contentious split-decision.
If McGregor doesn’t face Farooq next and looks to continue his foray into European territories then Vincent Legrand could well be a suitable option. Legrand, another French fighter, is a former European flyweight champion but has stepped up to bantamweight and is in the EBU’s goodbooks. McGregor would dish out another icing if ever the pair were to meet, mind.
Maxi Hughes boxed well against Paul Hyland Jr to capture the vacant British lightweight title; the rather ugly stoppage will be the source of further discussion about the standard of refereeing. Hughes has enjoyed a remarkable past seven months in which he has handed defeats to Jono Carroll, Viktor Kotochigov and Hyland Jr.
He’ll have plenty of fighters calling his name after becoming British champion but perhaps a clash with, Commonwealth titlist, Gavin Gwynne might make sense. Gwynne successfully captured that belt by stopping Sean McComb who, by the end of the contest, looked dispirited and out of sorts.
Alternatively a fight with, old foe, Liam Walsh could materialise with Hughes only stepping in on Friday night as a replacement for Walsh. Walsh hasn’t actually boxed since defeating Hughes way back in the end of 2019 but fortunes have changed significantly in that period. Hughes is enjoying a resurgent period in his career whilst Walsh still pursues that big title fight – this could well be a sensible step.
Or if Hughes wants to continue his trend of bigger and better challenges then why not look towards the winner of Edis Tatli vs Gianluca Ceglia for the European belt.
Shabaz Masoud dusted off any cobwebs to halt Louis Norman inside four rounds and the dazzling super bantamweight looks set to put his foot on the gas. A sensible next step would be to match Masoud against Michael Ramabeletsa – an experienced fighter and, indeed, champion across weight classes at Area and English level.