JOE Hughes says that he has no problems in going to John Wayne Hibbert’s backyard after being handed a shot at the Southern Area light-welterweight title.

The current International Masters 140lb champion from Malmesbury travels to the Civic Hall in Grays on July 19 to go head-to-head with Essex’s Hibbert.

And the 23-year-old is determined to take the opportunity presented to him.

“Boxing away is something that I’m used to,” he said.

“I made my debut in London, I’ve won in Essex already and in Sunderland - as an amateur you were always on the road too.

“I know my last few fights have been pretty local, but this is a big opportunity for me.”

Hughes’ shot at the Southern Area title has come after Ricky Boylan vacated the belt with Hibbert his mandatory.

Boylan has since been slated to box in a six-round contest on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s Commonwealth featherweight title defence in Leeds next Wednesday, leaving the path clear for Hibbert and Hughes.

“I know John Wayne was Ricky Boylan’s mandatory, but for some reason Ricky has vacated,” Hughes said.

“When that happened John Wayne’s manager Carl Greaves put this forward and it is a great opportunity for me.

“We are both come-forward fighters, we are both strong and it should make for a good fight, but I’m confident.”

Hughes says that he is pleased that he has been given nearly 10 weeks to prepare for the bout and insists that he will be in good shape come fight night.

“Normally, something like this can get dropped on you with only a couple of weeks notice - I’ve got around nine-and-a-half weeks to prepare,” he said.

“I’ve had enough of fighting journeyman now, this will be my second title fight in a row.

“This is belt can open doors for me, it can move me in line for a shot at the English title and possibly a British shot.

“But I know John Wayne will be thinking the same and I have to focus on him.”

Essex-based Hibbert comes into the fight on the back of a first round stoppage of Michael Vosyka.

Prior to that, the 29-year-old stopped Calum Cooper in eight rounds for the British Masters Gold light-welterweight crown, while his two defeats have come in an English title eliminator and in the Matchroom promoted Prizefighter tournament.