BOXING: Joe's a real belter

The Wiltshire Gazette and Herald: Joe Hughes celebrates after winning the International Masters belt Joe Hughes celebrates after winning the International Masters belt

JOE Hughes admits he has a frantic panic to check for injuries after every fight but was delighted to come through with a clean bill of health after he won his first pro title in Bath last weekend.

The 23-year-old, from Malmesbury, claimed the International Masters light-welterweight belt with a classy points victory over resilient Bulgarian Kristian Dochev at the Forum on Saturday night.

Hughes threw shot after shot at his opponent and, despite knocking down Dochev midway through the second round, with the youngster receiving a count from referee Jeff Hinds, he never really managed to do any significant damage to his tough counterpart.

But despite Dochev soaking up everything that came at him, it was still Hughes who was comfortably in control with some imaginative work and the final scorecard of 100-89 saw him claim a ninth pro win.

“As soon as I get out of the ring, I think ‘are my hands okay?’ and ‘is everything alright?’ but there's nothing to worry about this time,” said the Malmesbury fighter.

“I feel fine and I'm not injured – my hands were a little bit sore but it's nothing a bit of ice couldn't fix, so I'm ready to go again as soon as I can really.

“He was a tough, tough kid and I would have like to have stopped him but I just couldn't. I hit him with everything I had and he didn't budge.

“He went down early on but it was more of a trip and I did hurt him a couple of times but I couldn't put him away so fair play to the kid.

“He was tough but the actual fight was alright. I was in control the whole way through and my skill level was too much for him.”

Hughes, who trains at Paddy John's Gym in Bristol, was also delighted to come through his first ten-round contest.

He said: “It was hard but I was expecting that – it was just like the first time I did six rounds was hard and the first time I did three threes was hard.

“I'm definitely moving forward but it just all about getting the opportunities to get the right fights to push myself on. Fingers crossed, I'll get another fight again as soon as possible.”

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