Debut 2.0 – Gerard Hughes welcomes home comforts
It will be a case of home comforts in more ways than one for Gerard Hughes [1-0]this weekend.
The Ballycastle man fights Sean Jackson [0-4] over four rounds on The MHD ‘The Climb’ show at the Europa Hotel on Saturday.
It’s the new-to-the-scene fighter’s second fight since turning over and both his first as a pro in Belfast and his first with coach Dee Walsh in his corner.
Speaking to Irish-boxing.com this week he revealed those two firsts make it feel like a debut.
“It feels it,” he says when asked if there was a second debut element to this MHD-promoted fight.
“I haven’t fought in Belfast in four or five years. My last fight was in the Clayton Hotel against a Sheffield University select in 2018. So I can’t wait to fight in Belfast in front of a home crowd.”
Hughes had a baptism of fire when debuted against the ever-game Steven Maguire in Oldham last year and had to deal with the heat without the calming influence of Irish Boxing Awards Coach of the Year, Walsh.
Walsh was in Germany cornering the Irish Performance of the Year, Padraig McCrory’s win over Leon Bunn. Hughes was in good hands with his manager Kevin Maree in his corner but is delighted to have ‘Waldo’ talking him through this one on Saturday night.
“It was definitely different without Dee, but I enjoyed it. I went over to Manchester on my own and fought a tough opponent in Maguire. My manager Kevin did my corner and done a great job, he’s very experienced in his own right. But I can’t wait to get my first pro fight in with Dee,” he adds before revealing he learnt from the whole experience.
“I learnt a lot, every fight is experience. Again I was three years out of the ring so that fight was more so about getting the inactivity out of the system.”
Looking ahead to this weekend’s bout the 25-year-old is expecting four tough rounds although he says he is feeling strong and won’t shy away from securing a stoppage win if the chance presents itself.
“I expect him to give me a great four rounds, he’s only turned over like myself, so there’s not much on him. But anything there is Dee has seen, so I can’t wait to get in there and do what I need to do!
“I’m ready for anything that he brings. I showed a bit of my boxing in my last fight, so the plan is to be aggressive this time. I brought a new S&C coach in for this camp, he’s been great I feel a lot stronger and my conditioning is better so if there’s a chance to get him out of there I’ll take it.”
Hughes has already been linked to a title fight with fellow Belfast operator Ruadhan Farrell but for now, is just thinking about learning his craft and developing.
“I hope to keep gaining experience, maybe get a six rounder in after this one. There’s talk of belts already and I’m only 1-0 but for me I’m still young and I’ll take my time and do my learning. Then once I’m eligible for the opportunities I’ll take them with both hands.