Sunderland fighter Hughes in best shape ever for Croatian test

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DANNY Hughes is feeling the fittest he has ever been in his boxing life.

And the Sunderland heavyweight hopes he may have to prove it tomorrow night.

The 27-year-old’s wait for an opponent at the Newcastle Centre for Sport on Westgate Road is over – and he has been handed a very warm opponent.

Hughes has been matched with Croatia’s Jakov Gospic, who is rated number three in his homeland.

The Balkan basher has won 14 of his 21 contests, 10 of his victories coming inside the distance.

It is a big ask for “Danny Boy” given he has not boxed since April, but the Wearsider has shed a lot of weight though he has not trimmed his ambitions.

But the giant heavyweight, who has switched Sunderland camps from Tommy Conroy to Phil Jeffries, is feeling “great”.

Hughes told the Echo: “I’m the fittest I’ve ever been and I’m feeling stronger.

“I’ve been training really hard.

“I went down to 16st 10lb, which is the lightest I’ve been since 15 years old.

“I think that was too light so I’m up now to 17st 4lb, which I feel great at.

“It’s nice to be back in the ring, I’ve been pretty inactive the last couple of years.

“I’d love to fight the up and coming new stars out there. I’d fight Anthony Joshua next week, and there’s Lucas Browne and Richard Towers kicking about.

“I’d like to make my name that way and get a few tough bouts.”

Hughes has been putting in the graft at the Olympian Gym, but it is his work outside the ring which has been impressive.

Aided by girlfriend Stacy, Hughes has changed his “lifestyle” and matured from the days when he’d let his shape go.

“I was young at the time and I loved being out too much,” said Hughes, who has lost only two of his 15 bouts.

“But I’m only 27, which is still quite young for a heavyweight.

“I trained hard for Prizefighter, but not as hard as I’m training now.

“It’s been a change of lifestyle.

“I’ve always trained hard, you can ask anyone.

“But I’d go home and eat rubbish and go out and enjoy myself.

“I don’t do that now.”

Hughes v Gospic is one of the support bouts to the Martin Ward-Gabriel Laryea Commonwealth bantamweight title shoot-out.

There are still tickets available for the show, Call Phil Jeffries on 07747 611020.