JOE Hughes says that his showdown with Paul Archer in Liverpool tomorrow night will be a ‘make or break’ moment in his career.
The 22-year-old light-welterweight takes on unbeaten Durham fighter Archer at the Aintree Equestrian Centre, on the undercard of David Price’s televised British and Commonwealth heavyweight title defence against Matt Skelton.
Hughes, who was signed by Frank Maloney in 2010, is looking to begin challenging for titles but a six month spell on the sidelines through injury, coupled by a first professional loss at the hands of Joe Elfidh in March, meant that the Malmesbury man has had to bide his time.
And Hughes thinks that victory over the highly-rated Archer (6-0) would allow him to take his fight career to the next level in 2013.
“It’s definitely going to be the toughest fight I’ve had and it’s definitely make or break,” said the Wiltshire fighter, who has won six of his seven pro bouts so far.
“If I win, then I can start looking at trying to challenge for titles next year but, if I don’t, then I’m pretty much right back to where I started and I’ll have to build myself up all over again.
“You always get nervous before fights and I have been feeling that way before this one but I’m also feeling sharp and fit.
“He’s a skilful fighter and he’s good on the back foot.
“He’s tall and rangey and not so much of a knockout merchant, so it’s going to be one for the purists.”
Hughes, who trains at Paddy John’s Gym in Bristol under Andy O’Kane, was last in action in October when he beat Mark McCray on points in Swindon and is glad that his break from the ring has been short-lived.
“It’s nice to have another fight so close to the last one because in the past, the breaks have been too long,” he said.
“Sometimes that has been down to things out of my control but it’s definitely a good thing because it means you’re not stepping into a fight with ring rust.”
NEWS FROM HUGHES FIGHT AT GAZETTEANDHERALD.CO.UK/SPORT AND IN NEXT WEEK'S GAZETTE & HERALD