Alex Hughes hungry for ‘New Era’ and 50/50 fights

Alex Hughes hungry for ‘New Era’ and 50/50 fights

Maerdy’s unbeaten Alex Hughes (9-0, 3KO) is hungry for the next level and plans to play a part in Frank Warren’s ‘New Era’, starting with an appearance on the Hall of Fame promoter’s show at the Leicester Arena on Saturday.

The happy-go-lucky Rhondda native has knuckled down in recent months, turning the corner and training to his maximum limits. The results are evident to the naked eye and Hughes’ appears to be in the best aesthetic condition of his three-year career.

23-year-old Hughes has also decided to shed some extra poundage. The shift sees Hughes leave super-middleweight, a weight category where he’s never scored a stoppage win, to rejoin the middleweight ranks, where he began as a professional with three thumping knockouts.

He said: “Yeah, I am in the shape of my life. The weight is coming down and I didn’t realise how good I’d feel for it. I thought I’d start to weaken by now but Athlete Kitchen are giving me food, four meals a day. It’s a big help. Obviously, I’m still a bit hungry but I’m still very fit and strong.

“I’ve changed my eating and I live in the gym now, to be honest. I don’t think I’ve missed a day since Christmas. I’ve been flat out, working hard every day. Obviously, it’s next week [Saturday 22 April] when it needs to show.

“The weight is going to show a big factor. I’ll be a massive middleweight. Just by looking at me, you can see I haven’t done anything wrong this time.”

Gary Lockett, the prospect’s trainer and manager, has often nagged Hughes to ensure he’s giving everything he’s got in to gym sessions. However, he’s had to do it less and less in recent times as the penny has firmly dropped. Hughes’ apprenticeship is coming to an end and he’s eyeing serious fights against equally ambitious opponents in the very near future.

Hughes, who regularly helps to coach amateur hopefuls at Maerdy Boxing Club when he has spare time, said: “You’ve got to [learn from previous mistakes]. It’s getting to the point when I’ll be in 50/50 fights and I need to start giving it everything. I can’t be going in to a fight at the wrong weight, doing things wrong. It’s now or never.

“I’m ready [for 50/50 fights] now. 100% ready. I’m constantly in the gym. Maybe I’m not as active quite as much as I’d like but I don’t get any rust because I’m always in the gym.”

Hughes’ opponent for the dual BT Sport and BoxNation broadcast is Daniel Urbanski (21-18-3, 5KO). The Polish visitor has a narrow winning record and comes to the contest having lost his last 11 outings, as well as an early career loss to the division’s best operator in Kazakhstan’s world champion Gennady Golovkin.

While Hughes is happy not to be facing a journeyman, his opponent was supposed to be someone in similar shoes to his. He said: “Originally for this fight, I was going to fight a guy called Ben Wilkes who pulled out last week. I’m not sure for what reason. He had 10 fights, won nine of them.

“I suppose someone like that is hard to find on short notice but this other guy [Urbanski] has got a winning record. I just take whatever comes. Hopefully this year, I want to be involved in big fights.”

Hughes has sometimes appeared passive in the ring and while that’s partly due to his counter-punching style not gelling well with journeymen, he’s owned up to one or two flat performances, too.

However, almost everyone who has spent time in the gym with Hughes has told of his slick long range skills and now he feels prepared to transfer it to the ring, courtesy of a two-week trip stateside to some of the sport’s hottest gyms in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Hughes said: “I loved every second of it. I sparred with J’Leon Love [promoted by Floyd Mayweather Jr], he’s a world class super-middleweight. The kind of atmosphere in the gyms was similar to a fight night and that’s what I need to get used to that environment.

“In the gym, I look great all the time but on the night, it’s not that I’m terrible but compared to what I show in the gym, it’s frustrating. I think that trip could’ve done me a lot of good.

“The nerves I was getting before sparring was unbelievable. They’re all around the ring, chanting and gobbing off. I done well with it.”

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