Lockett: Reed is a big step up for Hughes

Lockett: Reed is a big step up for Hughes

Maerdy’s Alex Hughes (4-0, 3KO) will be tested for the first time when he fights Sheffield’s experienced Wayne Reed (13-12, 6KO), according to the Welshman’s trainer and manager.

Gary Lockett admits it’s a big step up for Hughes but he fully expects the middleweight to shine in the six round contest at London’s iconic York Hall.

He said: “I think for someone in his fifth fight, it is a big step up. I spoke to Alex about it, he was very cool and calm. He thinks it’s a fight that will make him look good.

“Putting him in with someone like Wayne, he’ll be pushed. Wayne’s a fighter’s fighter, he’ll keep coming and throwing. Alex knows that, so he’s got himself in great shape for it.”

The medical requirements of the British Boxing Board of Control’s license delayed [BBBoC] the start of Hughes’ career for two years. However, since making his debut last year, the man fittingly nicknamed as ‘Bad News’ has taken to the professional code like a natural, forcing three knockouts in his four wins.

Lockett won’t fast track the 21-year-old prospect but doesn’t see the benefit in holding him back either, he said: “What I didn’t want to do with Alex was keep putting him in with journeymen and he just bangs them out because I just don’t think it does anything for him. He’s had a couple of those now and that’s enough.

“All we know is that his potential is brilliant and he’s improving all of the time. He’s sparring with the likes of Liam Williams and Fred Evans, Joe Pigford, Tommy Langford and Nick Blackwell. He’s holding his own with all of them, so why keep putting him in with guys he’s going to flatten in one or two rounds? I just don’t see that that’s going to do anything for him, so lets test him a little bit.

“We did originally ask for Mike Byles (5-3, 1KO) but he fought Tom Doran and got stopped, so that wasn’t feasiable. We went to Wayne Reed and he’s coming off a stoppage win the other week. I’m a little bit nervous, probably more nervous than what Alex is but I’m sure it’s going to be a really good test and a really good win for Alex.”

Hughes, who is promoted by International Hall of Fame entrant Frank Warren, is a natural counter-puncher and against journeymen, he’s been forced to seize the initiative on the front foot. That’s position is likely to be taken by Reed, an ambitious former Central Area super-middleweight champion who has also challenged Rocky Fielding for the English belt, and Hughes’ team expect it to suit them.

Lockett said: “I think anyone that comes towards Alex is going to get hit. I don’t think Alex is going to have any problems hitting Wayne but obviously Wayne is going to keep throwing himself. He’ll take a shot and come back, it’s a test for Alex.

“He [Hughes] never stopped anyone in the amateurs and he seems to have the eye to stop opponents now. What I’ve said is don’t go out there looking to stop him, you’re not going to have any trouble hitting him because he comes straight at you but the main thing is to get the win. If it’s on points, it looks impressive and if you get him out of there, it’s a bonus. The main thing for Alex is to win.”

When he’s not teaching youngsters at Maerdy Boxing Club, Hughes often trains alongside newly crowned British middleweight champion Nick Blackwell, who captured the title with a seventh round knockout of John Ryder in May. That experience allows Hughes to learn a lot but Lockett insists the education isn’t all one way.

He said: “Alex’s been going ten round spars with Nick Blackwell and we’ve introduced a lot of track work to his regime, so he’s fitter than he’s ever been.

“Alex is learning from Nick but Nick’s also learning from Alex as well because Alex has a great style. If you can sort of compete with Alex in sparring, you can more or less compete with anyone because he’s so awkward and so clever.”

Swansea’s Jay Harris (5-0, 2KO) will also appear on the same show. The 24-year-old super-flyweight, son of former British champion Peter Harris, will face Hungary’s Tibor Nador (5-1, 2KO). If Harris scores a knockout, he’d make it a hat-trick of consecutive stoppages having ended matters early in his last two outings, against Frances Croes and Stephan Slavich respectively.

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