Welsh prospects feature on Maccarinelli-topped card on October 10

Greg Steene and Mo Prior stage a show at Newport Leisure Centre on Saturday October 10 that’s topped by ex-WBO cruiserweight champion Enzo Maccarinelli.

And the undercard features rising stars Zack Davies, a quarter finalist at last summer’s Commonwealth Games, and Alex Hughes.

Hughes, a 21 year-old super-middleweight from Maerdy, is trained by Gary Lockett and earlier this year, signed a promotional deal with Frank Warren.

He’s won all five fights (three inside the distance) and according to Lockett, a straight-talking fighting man, he’s “a special talent.”

Hughes looks sure to be well supported next month.

The fight in Newport will be his his first in Wales since his professional debut last may and Hughes says “everyone in Maerdy is buzzing. I get unbelievable support wherever I go and I wanted to get on this show so much.”

His home village is around a mile from Tylorstown, where Jimmy Wilde emerged from a century ago to be a dominant world flyweight champion.

Wilde, known as the Ghost With The Hammer In His Hand, is widely regarded as the best flyweight in history and Hughes is also aiming high.

“There wouldn’t be any point boxing if I didn’t want to win a world title,” he said, “but as long as I give it my best shot, I will be happy.”

As an amateur, Hughes says he won “48 or 49” of his 54 bouts and won Schools and Junior honours.

“I didn’t get picked for the Welsh team,” he said, “and I don’t know why.

“I was offered a trial with GB when I was 17, but I didn’t fancy it. I had met Gary by then and had decided to go professional.”

Hughes had to wait to get his license after problems with his brain scan and says he “spent two years in the gym learning from the boys.”

“The boys” at Lockett’s gym included Gavin Rees and Liam Williams and when he finally made his professional debut last year, Hughes showed how much he’d learned from them and Lockett as he coolly broke down tough-as-old-boots journeyman Mark Till in four rounds.

His talents were seen by a wider audience in February when Eurosport screened a four-round points win over Deividas Sajauka and last time out, Hughes was matched tough with Sheffield southpaw Wayne Reed.

Hughes won the six rounder on points, but it wasn’t easy.

Lockett said: “Alex tried too hard to take him out with one shot, got tired and had to work hard in the last three rounds to keep Wayne off him.

“It was the best thing that could have happened to Alex. Now he knows what it takes to be a professional boxer.”

Hughes could have pursued a career in rugby union.

“I come from a rugby family,” he said. “I played at scrum half or No 10 and was offered trials with the (Cardiff) Blues, but I didn’t want it to get in the way of my boxing.”

Hughes was just eight years old when he followed a group of friends to the local boxing gym, but he didn’t have to leave his house for sparring !

“I’ve got two bigger brothers,” he said, “and I had some beatings growing up. It was tough, but they leave me alone these days.”

A grudge fight has been added to the Newport bill.

Darren Pryce will meet Ricky Leach in a rematch after a war of words on Twitter.

Last April, the bantamweights fought out a draw over four rounds and matchmaker Greg Steene has given them the chance to settle their differences.

Tickets are available from 07795 199204.