Hughes hungry for step up after sparring George Groves

Hughes hungry for step up after sparring George Groves

After gaining top level experience, Maerdy’s unbeaten Alex Hughes (7-0, 3KO) has had a boost of confidence and feels ready to step up.

The super-middleweight has been invited to London for the last four weeks to spar with one of the division’s leading contenders, ‘Saint’ George Groves. They will continue to share eight and 10 round sessions in the build up for Groves’ world title eliminator with Martin Murray at the O2 Arena on 25 June.

22-year-old Hughes, who operates with a sharp counter-punching style, has earned plaudits in the gym. Observers have included former unified super-bantamweight champion Carl Frampton and the camp’s esteemed coach, Shane McGuigan.

Hughes said: “It’s given me a lot of confidence. When people have put pressure on me in the past, I’ve sometimes tired and gone in to my old amateur style, a bit defensive. This has given me confidence that I can stand my ground with top guys, box and come forward to fight when I need to. It’s helped me in a lot of ways.

“It’s been brilliant in all honesty, I feel honoured to be asked to help George out. I’ve done a good rounds with Liam [Williams – British and Commonwealth super-welterweight champion] as well and I feel in great shape already, even though it’s early in camp.”

Known as ‘Bad News’ on the Welsh fight scene, Hughes is also preparing for his own date. He will feature on Paul Boyce’s show in Swansea on 2 July, headlined by Mitch Buckland’s defence of his Celtic super-lightweight title against new gym-mate Chris Jenkins, against a yet to be confirmed opponent.

It’s has been almost exactly two years since Hughes made a stellar debut on Matchroom Sport’s show at the Motorpoint (formerly C.I.A) Arena, halting the durable Mark Till in the fourth and final round. He then crossed the promotional divide to sign with International Hall of Fame entrant Frank Warren and continued to impress, last winning on the undercard of Enzo Maccarinelli’s knockout of the legendary Roy Jones Jnr in December.

Reflecting on his career so far, Hughes said: “It’s been brilliant and it’s flown by. It’s been spot on, I’m 7-0 and I can’t ask for much more. Gary [Lockett – coach and manager] knows me better than anyone, so whatever he feels is best for me, I’m happy to go with that.

“I’m not far off 10 rounds [fights], not at all. On the night in the ring, it can be different to sparring but sparring with the likes of Liam and George, it’s put my confidence through the roof and I’m ready for the next level now.

“This year has been a long year. I think it will be seven months from my last fight [W6PTS Murad Dalkhaev] to my next one. I’ve been at it in the gym non-stop since Christmas, I’m always in good shape and ready to go.”Liam Williams Alex Hughes

Hughes has fought in Wales just twice in the last two years but hopes for as many appearances in July. It’s likely that aforementioned stablemate Liam Williams will defend his belts in Cardiff this summer, Hughes is keen to share the show’s spotlight and it may even be down at middleweight.

He said: “I think maybe with a real, real big push, I might be able to do middleweight. Maybe if a good opportunity did come up at middleweight, I’d take that but I’m comfy at super-middleweight. It’s not easy but it’s not really, really hard.

“Another three [fights after the summer] this year would be great. I just want to be as busy as I can be. The more you fight, the better you feel when you’re in there. I’ll take whatever chances comes up.”