JOE Hughes has his fingers crossed that the disappointment of his failure to dethrone Jack Catterall will be tempered by potential for more similarly high-profile fights in the future.

Fighting live in front of the TV cameras for the first time, the Malmesbury man was unsuccessful in his bid to relieve the highly-rated Catterall of his WBO inter-continental junior-welterweight belt at the Macron Stadium in Bolton last Friday night, despite a spirited display in the North West.

His defeat also means that Hughes’ English title, which he won against Anthony Hardy last year before subsequently defending against Anthony Upton, will become vacant.

The 25-year-old’s performance against a Frank Warren-backed fighter, who is tipped as one of British boxing’s hottest prospects, will have done little to harm his reputation.

But Hughes, whose professional record now stands at 14-2, does also wonder if there is a downside to him having shown off just what he is capable of.

“Will they use me again? Hopefully. Will I get some other big fights on the back of this? Fingers crossed,” said Hughes.

“The other way of looking at is that they may have thought ‘wow, he is good. We don’t want any of our lads to fight him and he didn’t shift a load of tickets, so what’s the point?’.

“Maybe I’m too good for my own good, sometimes; not quite good enough to win on the night, which would have forced them to use me again.

“Just falling short might have been a good thing but time will tell and we’ll have to wait and see.

“I want to keep fighting the best fighters that will get in the ring with me.

“I’ve lost loads of fights before in the past; as an amateur, as a pro, and I had hundreds of martial arts fights in the past, and probably lost most of them, so that doesn’t bother me – I’ll keep coming.”

Hughes came out on the wrong end of a unanimous 115-113, 117-112, 117-113 decision in Bolton but only after soaking up everything Catterall had to throw at him, handing the Lancashire man arguably one of the toughest tests of his career to date.

The Malmesbury fighter’s trainer and manager Andy O‘Kane says that his mission is to keep Hughes in the mix at the top of the British 140lb division, ideally with a little help from Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions.

He said: “I’m hoping, on the strength of the performance Joe put in, there’ll be interest in using him again because I think he’s demonstrated that – okay, it wasn’t his night – but he’s at that level.

“I’ve got no doubt that if I spoke to Joe about a re-match, he’d say ‘sign the paperwork straight away’.

“These are the fights Joe wants with anybody in the division.

“My job now is to try and keep him in these type of fights, therefore I’m going to see if I can get some assistance from Frank Warren and his team to see if they’ll do anything else with him.

“I think Joe is a member of the ‘who needs him?’ club. A lot of guys in the country don’t want to box Joe. He’s too dangerous.”