Joe Hughes wants to continue defying the odds with a world title shot next year
Hughes' condition means one of his arms is three inches shorter than the other
By Matt Horan
Last Updated: 05/12/18 5:45pm
Joe Hughes continues to defy the odds and fresh from his European title win in Florence, the man who has Erb's palsy is targeting world honours.
The 28-year-old Bristol boxer boxed brilliantly to dominate Andrea Scarpa for the EBU belt on the road in Florence on Friday despite the condition, which has resulted in one of his arms being shorter than the other.
I get a lot of messages from people with the same or a similar disability and parents saying I'm an inspiration to their children, it's an amazing touch and really does mean a lot.
With a record of 17-3-1, Hughes - who has since been called out by British and Commonwealth champion Robbie Davies Jr - now has his heart set on completing an inspirational story by winning a dream world title.
"It was a great experience in Florence and my biggest win by a mile, for the first time boxing abroad it's amazing to come back with a European title," Hughes told Sky Sports, "It's been such a huge boost to my career.
"Things haven't gone so well in the past but they went a lot smoother this time and it showed. It's great to have been shown on such a big platform, the difference it's been with people now knowing about me has been huge.
"I'll have some time off over Christmas with my two young children, but also stay in the gym, coaching kids and trying not to get too fat.
"Davies Jr is a fight that could happen in the future, his next step up is the European and it makes perfect sense for him - I was made up for Robbie when he won the British title. For me though selfishly, the next step up is a world title so that's what I'd really like and what a story that would be.
"Most champions are tied up with the Super Series but Maurice Hooker (WBO) would seem the most logical option. I've travelled all around this country as the away fighter and done alright, now I've travelled to and conquered Europe, why not go to the USA and conquer there. I want the biggest fights."
Hughes, who was born with Erb's palsy, essentially has to fight with just one arm, and the Wiltshire man is determined to continue raising awareness and providing inspiration for those who also have the condition.
"Erb's palsy means I have one arm shorter than the other. When I was born there was nerve damage in my neck and shoulder and it has affected the way my arm has grown and developed. So my right arm is 3in shorter than my left and the muscle around it is a lot weaker and smaller. There's lots of movements I can't do with it.
"I've been boxing with the condition for 20 years now so it's always been this way for me, it's not like a sudden injury. My whole career and life is just using that left hand all the time. Even though I'm always working on my right and trying to improve it, when it comes to fights and sparring I'm very left-hand dominant.
"I've just relentlessly worked on my left, to the point where I can win with just one hand. I've been lucky as well, it could have been worse.
"I'm just trying to do the best for myself. I get a lot of messages from people with the same or a similar disability and parents saying I'm an inspiration to their children, it's an amazing touch and really does mean a lot to me."
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