Peter Wells gives his Anthony Yigit vs Joe Hughes prediction and pre-fight analysis ahead of tonight’s boxing action in the UK.

Becoming one of the most underrated fighters at 140lbs in Britain has now ultimately led to the likeable Joe Hughes 15-2-1(6KO’s) earning himself an unexpected, but deserved, shot at the European Light Welterweight crown.

But having pushed the impressive Jack Catterall all the way before being unlucky to only draw with the awkward Tyrone Nurse last time out, live on Channel 5, Hughes takes on another underappreciated fighter, in the form of Sweden’s Anthony Yigit 20-0-1(7KO’s).

Hughes’ incredible story starts when he was born with Erb’s palsy, a condition that has left him with severe nerve damage in his right arm. The damage from birth has left him with limited use of his right arm which is also three inches shorter than his left.

In spite of all of this, he fought 70 times in a successful amateur career, and has won Southern Area and English titles as well as challenging Nurse for the British crown. And the Wiltshire man has not been matched easily, beating a trio of unbeaten prospects and coming up short against two other unbeaten fighters in Catterall and Joe Elfidh – both on points.

But having come through the likes of Philip Bowes, Anthony Hardy and Anthony Upton, the experienced but marginally younger Yigit is a different test altogether, and one where Hughes will have to get over the hurdle of coming up marginally short in his biggest fights.

The likes of Kim Poulson – not the Red Bull Leipzig star – Philip Sutcliffe Jr, Lenny Daws and Sandor Martin have all come out on the wrong end against the Swedish champion, and not all of those have come at home either. Beating Poulson and Daws in their respective countries.

It would be an incredible feat for Hughes to achieve, and very few are more deserving than the 27-year old who has defied so many odds to even get to this stage.

But Yigit is a disciplined and smart tactician, with bags of experience in his 21 fight career. Hughes as always will come on strong in the fights second half, and can give the champion plenty of nervy moments across a fight that is destined to hear the final bell.

Ultimately Yigit’s early work will be enough to secure a tight but well deserved victory on the scorecards in Leicester. Yigit can move on to more lucrative fights at European level for now, while Hughes has more than enough willpower to come again.

Wiltshire continues to be represented on the bill as Commonwealth Cruiserweight champion Luke Watkins looks to continue his strides up the domestic ladder when he defends against Southport’s Mike Stafford.

Watkins 12-0(8KO’s) impressed last time out when he was far too strong and skilful for fellow unbeaten Robin Dupre, dropping and stopping his man in 6.

Stafford 16-3(3KO’s), has never been stopped, his one foray in to the domestic class saw him soundly outpointed in a game effort vs Jon Lewis Dickinson.

At 36, Stafford is looking short on options at this level, and will be at the end of a first career defeat inside schedule. Watkins showing his superiority throughout before stopping the challenger in the 8th.

A Midlands derby should get the crowd involved at the Leicester Arena, with home favourite Jahmaine Smyle 14-6-2(6KO’s) looks to score his first win of the year and reverse the memories of back-to-back losses to Darryll Williams.

His opponent however, turned down the opportunity to face Williams for the English Super Middleweight title, and instead face Smyle. Lennox Clarke 15-0-1(6KO’s) has been biding his time, feasting on a host of journeymen, which ultimately saw him draw last time out over 8 rounds.

That was a disappointing night for the Halesowen man who has looked sensational in several of his early finishes.

Smyle has far greater experience and will look to punish Clarke who has yet to go beyond the 8th. Clarke meanwhile will look to replicate Williams’ high work rate that caused such trouble for Smyle in their duo of fights this year.

Smyle is an underrated boxer, but he tends to lean towards getting involved, but in Clarke he is not facing an opponent that has shown an inside game like Williams had.

Smyle has been halted early before, but if Clarke fails to take the initiative in the opening stages and crack open a stoppage inside 5 rounds. The pick will be for Smyle to find the better punches leading to a late stoppage or narrow points win.

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