Super-Lightweight contender Joe Hughes is backing Jack Catterall to defeat British Champion Tyrone Nurse when the foes do battle at the First Direct Arena in Leeds next Saturday, live on BT Sport and BoxNation.
Hughes, 27, is a former opponent of both men and will be keeping a close eye on the outcome of one of the most eagerly-anticipated Lonsdale Belt showdowns in years.
Chorley’s Catterall outpointed Hughes to become the mandatory challenger for Nurse’s title in a hard-fought battle at the Bolton Whites Hotel in May 2016. Both men refused to concede ground and were locked in a battle in the centre of the ring for long periods of the fight.
Hughes dug deep to earn an impressive draw with Nurse at the Leicester Arena back in April. With Nurse boasting a superior reach, Hughes had to box clever on the inside and did well to wrap up his opponent, who had been out of action for nine months.
“It’s a fight I’m really excited about and a tough one to call,” said Hughes. “I fought both so know how good they are.
“It was very hard to land clean on Tyrone. I know he’s been dropped but he can definitely take a shot. To give himself the best chance, he’ll need to stay behind his long jab and use plenty of movement, throw lots of shots from a safe range. He’ll not be able to hurt Jack.
“Jack’s a strong kiddie and, though he never really caught me clean, I could tell he punched hard. He was good all round; good range, clever, knew how to shut the action down when needed. He kept his shape throughout. To win here, he’ll need to apply high pressure, cut Ty off, use his strength, work Ty’s body.
“It really depends on the style that each implements on the night. Jack gave me the harder fight. He deserved his win whereas I thought I beat Tyrone (the fight was scored a draw) so I edge to Catterall. A stoppage is unlikely.”
Main event on the card sees Leeds hero Josh Warrington (25-0, 5 KOs) take on the undefeated Dennis Ceylan (18-0-2, 8 KOs) in a Final Eliminator for the IBF Featherweight World Title.
Manchester prospect Zelfa Barrett (18-0, 11 KOs) takes on Chris Conwell (9-2, 2 KOs) for the Vacant English Super-Featherweight title; Leicester starlet Lyon Woodstock (9-0, 5 KOs) takes on Craig Poxton (13-4, 2 KOs) for the Vacant WBO European Super-Featherweight title.
Undefeated Liverpool Super-Welterweight talent J.J Metcalf (16-0, 8 KOs) takes on Leeds native Damon Jones (15-1, 3 KOs) in an official eliminator for the British title currently held by Warren stablemate Liam Williams.
An action-packed undercard also features British Middleweight Champion Tommy Langford (18-1, 6 KOs); former Commonwealth Games bronze medallist and GB squad standout Sam Maxwell (Super-Lightweight, 3-0, 2 KOs); Bradford Welterweight Darren Tetley (14-0, 5KOs); Chapel-en-le-Frith Cruiserweight Jack Massey (12-0, 6 KOs); Doncaster Featherweight Reece Mould (6-0, 2 KOs); Leeds Flyweight Jack Bateson (1-0, 1 KO) and the professional debut of Leeds fighter Jack Daniels.
Tickets for Warrington vs. Ceylan priced at £40 (Upper Tier), £50 (Lower Tier), £70 (Floor), £100 (Floor), £150 (Foor) and £250 (VIP/Hospitality) are now available from First Direct Arena www.firstdirectarena.com 0844 2481585