Preview: Opponents unveiled for Hughes and Davies on Maccarinelli-Jones Moscow show

Preview: Opponents unveiled for Hughes and Davies on Maccarinelli-Jones Moscow show

While Swansea’s Enzo Maccarinelli (40-7, 32KO) is in Russia to end the eight fight unbeaten streak of the legendary Roy Jones Jnr (62-8, 45KO), there are two more Welshmen aiming to make their mark in Moscow. Two of the ex-world champion’s stablemates, Maerdy’s middleweight Alex Hughes (6-0, 3KO) and Pontyberem’s lightweight Zack Davies (4-0), will appear on the undercard of Saturday’s Vlad Hrunov promoted show at the VTB Arena. The pair of standout novice professionals are both contracted under the Frank Warren promotional banner with former WBC/WBO world title challenger Gary Lockett undertaking the manager and trainer responsibilities. Their opponents have been confirmed this week and although they aren’t listed on the running order of the show’s broadcaster, BoxNation (Sky Ch. 456), it’s understood that they’ve been told that their fights will be televised, with coverage starting from 4:00pm onwards. Alex Hughes Enzo MaccarinelliHughes stands at six foot and after a 50-fight amateur career that included no knockout wins, the switch-hitting counterpuncher started his professional career last May with back-to-back stoppage wins. He will face a local, Murad Dalkhaev (5-5, 2KO) who owns an even record to suggest that he won’t play the stereotypically unambitious journeyman role. That should suit Hughes, who struggled to get to grips with his last opponent, Kieron Gray, whose understandable main aim was just to survive to hear the final bell. Having tipped the scales at 13st 6lbs in 2013 and operating as high as cruiserweight, Dalkhaev may own a natural size advantage but Hughes is deceptively strong for a 21-year-old. The Welshman intended to be a middleweight when he turned over but there have been discussions in his training team to move him eight pounds north. The intention would be for Hughes to lose the strain of making such a strict weight, whilst retaining more energy and growing in to the super-middleweight division. In preparation for tomorrow’s six rounder, Hughes packed his bags and went alone to Dublin for two weeks. Nicknamed ‘Bad News’, he travelled to Packie Collins’ Celtic Warriors gym to spar with Gary ‘Spike’ O’Sullivan ahead of the Irishman’s world title eliminator against Chris Eubank at the O2 Arena in London tomorrow. Hughes also spent ring time with Australia’s Dennis Hogan, who unsuccessfully challenged Germany’s talented Jack Culcay for the WBA Interim world super-welterweight strap last week. For the first time, Davies will also step up to the six round distance and he will face Saint Petersburg’s Alexander Saltykov (9-29-3, 5KO). The 23-year-old West Walian is likely to be looking to end a contest inside the distance for the first time as a professional, given that his four previous outings have been won by decision. Davies was renowned for a booming left hook in the amateurs and it wouldn’t be surprised for it to halt Saltykov, who has suffered 20 career knockout losses. Davies, who represented Wales in the 64KG weight category at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, has made steady progress since switching to the paid code. The Russian appearance will be Davies’ fifth since his debut 10 months ago and he’s not come close to losing one of his so-far 16 rounds without the vest and headgear. On Maccarinelli’s last away day, an injury stopped the 35-year-old in Germany as he challenged WBA Regular world light-heavyweight champion Juergen Braehmer in April 2014. However, there were positives for the Lockett camp as it gave a platform for Clydach Vale’s super-welterweight Liam Williams to impress and he did so, dismantling Youri Pompilio with one hand. The standout performance and television coverage propelled Williams towards collecting a Commonwealth belt soon after and has led to next week’s challenge for the British title. Now, it’s Hughes and Davies’ turn to take their chance on a show that attracts global attention.

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