By Elliot Foster
Anthony Yigit retained his European super-lightweight crown on away soil.
The Swede scored an unanimous decision against Joe Hughes at the Leicester Arena.
Yigit, whose nickname is ‘Can You Dig It?’, had long been mentioned as a potential future foe for Commonwealth and WBC Silver super-lightweight champion Josh Taylor.
But after outpointing Hughes exclusively live on Channel 5 in the UK with Taylor working at ringside as a pundit, by convincing margins of 118-112, 118-110 and 119-109, Yigit poured water on the idea of a fight between the pair, claiming to make weight too easily and that he was looking at stepping down to nine-stone nine.
The fight with Hughes, who defies all odds to fight with Erb’s Palsy, was one which started badly for the champion as Malmesbury’s Hughes got off on good footing.
Hughes was ripping in body shots, but Yigit took all that he had and as the contest progressed and Hughes tired, Yigit stepped on the gas and moved up another level, meaning that the challenger failed to continue the pace and pin his man down.
With good movement, the champion showed his adaptability and got the decision over a game Hughes who –– after fighting current and former British champions at his weight in previous outings, as well as at one stage holding the English belt –– will surely come again in the New Year.
Also on the card, Mike Stafford was brave in defeat as he was pulled out in a challenge for the Commonwealth crown.
The Southport man, who dropped to 16-4, lost to cruiserweight Luke Watkins.
And he looked well on the way to doing it in the early rounds as he rocked ‘The Duke’, who won the vacant belt in his last fight just two months ago, onto his heels in the third round.
But Watkins continued to take the shots that the challenger threw and continued to plough on with his own attacks and, with the victory, became the first man to stop Stafford.
There were words from the 36-year-old’s trainer Karl Ince at the end of the seventh round that he would have to win the next round.
And despite all his efforts, Stafford’s team felt he hadn’t done enough and informed referee Howard Foster of their decision to save their man for another day.
Earlier in the card, Craig Morris won the vacant IBO Continental welterweight title with a points win over Ryan Martin.
The three scoring judges turned in tallies of 97-94, 97-92 and 97-93, as Martin dropped to 8-2 and Morris advanced to 9-1.