Dave Oakes previews this Saturday's super-bantamweight clash between Carl Frampton and Kris Hughes.
This weekend sees unbeaten Commonwealth champion Carl Frampton make the first defence of his title. He faces Scottish southpaw Kris Hughes at the York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Whilst boxing fans in Britain and Ireland are getting excited about a future meeting between Frampton and British champion Scott Quigg, the Belfast man knows he must keep his mind focused on the job in hand against Hughes. It remains to be seen when, if at all, Frampton and Quigg will meet. It could be later this year or further down the line when both have matured into world level operators, but both know any slip-up could put an end to any potential clash.
Hughes, 15-1 (1), is a good pro, he’s never going to be a world beater but when he uses considerable height and reach he can be a handful. His only loss came at the hands of Jamie Arthur in a previous attempt at the Commonwealth belt. Hughes allowed himself to be outworked and outhustled by the more experienced Arthur in a fight that wasn’t the prettiest.
Frampton is unbeaten in his eleven outings, and has looked fantastic in all but one - a turgid affair against Robbie Turley, whose awkward style prevented Frampton from getting into a rhythm. He won the title in his last outing by dropping and stopping late substitute Mark Quon in four one-sided rounds.
At 5ft 5ins Frampton is conceding six inches to Hughes, a problem Frampton hasn’t faced thus far in his pro career, although he must have at some point during his extensive amateur career. Hughes will be trying to keep the champion on the end of his southpaw jab and not allow him to get inside, which could mean big trouble if he does. Frampton isn’t a one punch knockout artist but he carries the kind of power that hurts every time he lands.
Hughes isn’t a noted puncher, although the one knockout on his record was a spectacular one against Dai Davies – a straight left sending his foe crashing face first to the canvas. If Hughes is to pull off the upset it’s most likely he’ll have to go the distance to do so - not an easy task against Frampton, who looks to have good work-rate and stamina to go with his evident ability.
It’s not inconceivable for Hughes to cause some problems in the opening rounds, and he’ll take heart from Frampton’s struggle with Turley, but Frampton should settle down and adapt as the fight goes on, slowly overwhelming his opponent in the mid to late rounds.