Alex ‘Bad News’ Hughes blasts away opponent on return to middleweight

Alex ‘Bad News’ Hughes blasts away opponent on return to middleweight

Maerdy’s Alex Hughes (10-0, 4KO) moved to 10 straight wins with an explosive first round knockout of Poland’s Daniel Urbanski (21-19-3, 5KO) on Saturday.

Fans at the Leicester Arena were treated to the strongest showing of Hughes’ career so far and the 23-year-old was unlucky to miss out on a slot on the joint BT Sport and BoxNation broadcast.

Hughes, who was decorated in white shorts with pink trim, met Urbanski in the middle of the ring straight from the opening bell. They felt each other out with range finding jabs, only interrupted when Urbanski was briefly warned for a low blow.

‘Bad News’ wasted no time in making his mark and quickly found the gap he was looking for. Hughes countered a slow jab with a right cross, it robbed Urbanski of his balance and a quick two-fisted follow up flurry crowded him to the floor.

Sensing a first early finish since mid-2015, Hughes retained his composure in the following exchanges. An assault of right hooks to the top of Urbanski’s head and left hooks to his body kept him disorientated.

The second breakthrough came when Hughes pulled down Urbanski’s guard, opening an angle for a right hook. It landed flush and rocked the visitor on to his heels and he tumbled to the canvas on two more occasions before referee Kevin Parker waved it off.

In the changing room after the fight, Hughes said: “Even when I hurt him and dropped him the first time, the first thing Gary [Lockett – trainer and manager] said was ‘don’t go nuts now, have a look and try to open him up a bit more.’ I did, he took a few more shots and as soon as I landed again, that was it.

“100%, he [Gennady Golovkin] knows I’m coming for him now,” joked Hughes, in reference to the middleweight king’s fourth round knockout of Urbanski in 2006 on his way to becoming the unified world champion.

“Obviously, he [Urbanski] has seen better days, it’s just what happens on the night, anything can happen. I knew I could hit him with a good right hand and he was on rubbery legs the whole time he was in there until the stoppage.”

It was Hughes’ first fight since moving down from super-middleweight to middleweight, shedding eight pounds of excess. It was made possible by a diet designed by Athlete Kitchen and brutal gym routines put together by conditioning expert Ed Morris.

He had been at the 160lbs limit earlier in his career, scoring three knockouts in his first four outings but the stoppages slowed as he rose through the divisions. That said, Hughes was still technically against a super-middleweight as Urbanski came in five pounds over the agreed weight.

Hughes said: “It’s been proven again, this is definitely my weight. I should have listened to Gary in the first place and not gone up. That’s five fights at this weight and four knockouts, as well. It just goes to show, doesn’t it?

“It shows me what I need to do. At the end of the day, if you take your foot off the gas, it shows. I’ve proved that in my last few performances. I’ve hit it hard this camp, put my foot on the gas and that’s what happens.”

Hughes prepared for his 10th contest by visiting a group of gyms in the Las Vegas, Nevada desert. The stateside trip took place alongside recent WBO world interim title challenger Liam Williams and the pair made their mark.

The training camp saw Hughes share rounds with the world rated J’Leon Love at the gym of Floyd Mayweather, who also promotes the American. The Welshman now feels like he’s served his apprenticeship and experienced a lot, turning his eyes to eliminators and title fights.

Hughes said: “Like I said before the fight, I don’t really get rusty, do you know what I mean? We’re always in the gym, always working hard, so I’m ready for whatever.

“I would love a title shot, love it. Any belt to put around my waist would be fantastic… unless it’s the championship of Maerdy!”

It was a late night for those who stuck around to see Hughes’ explosive performance, which took place after the main event of Frank Warren’s show and near to midnight. Still, Hughes was happy to reward his fans with an entertaining watch after their four-hour journey from the Rhondda to the East Midlands.

He said: “I know it was a long day for them all and only two minutes but I think after my last few performances, seeing me perform like that will make it all worth it. Like, my best mate Jonny [Harris] is here. He’s been here all weekend with me, doing my head in. You can see he’s over the moon now.”

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