LUKE Watkins is looking forward to defending his Commonwealth title in December after he ‘stole the show’ on the night he won the belt.

Hall Of Fame boxer and promoter Barry McGuigan, who is putting on the show at Leicester Arena with Malmesbury’s Joe Hughes topping the bill as he faces Sweden’s Anthony Yigit for the European super-lightweight title, was delighted with how the unbeaten Swindon fighter performed on his York Hall show at the start of the month.

On October 7, Watkins claimed the Commonwealth title when stopping Robin Dupre in six rounds and on December 2 he puts his crown on the line against Southport’s Mike Stafford.

Promoter and former world featherweight champion McGuigan said: “Luke Watkins stole the show somewhat on October 7, when he had that amazing fight with Dupre, it was fantastic.

“He has got a fight on his hands with Mike Stafford. Stafford he is never in a dull fight, very entertaining, very exciting, very tough and I’m expecting a fantastic fight.”

The Paddy Fitzpatrick-trained 27-year-old, who will be joined on the bill by stablemate Ryan Martin as he faces Ludlow’s Craig Morris in an English welterweight title eliminator, was pleased to hear praise.

“I don’t know (whether I will steal the show again) I just go in there and be myself and if that is what people like then great,” Watkins told the Advertiser.

“It is nice to hear people like Barry McGuigan say things like that. He is a hero in the sport – a hero of the Irish people and when he makes those comments its cool.

“I’m glad to be fighting again this side of Christmas. I had a week and a half off after my last fight, I had a solid camp the last time, and I’m back in camp already for this one.

“I’m not a fan of having long breaks between fights, this is what I do, I’m a professional boxer, I’m full-time, this is my job and the more often that I fight the easier it is for me.”

While Watkins’ opponent is 36-year-old, Stafford has had 19 fights due to lengthy injuries including rupturing a bicep when fighting for the British title in 2013.

“He is a tough dude, he has never been stopped – the only losses that he has had is at a high level,” said Watkins, who has won all 12 of his fights, including eight inside the distance.

“He went 12 rounds for the British title, you have to give him credit for that fight it takes a certain type of man who can do that.

“He comes to fight and it looks like it is going to be an exciting fight.”

Tickets for the show at the Leicester Arena are priced £30 unreserved or £100 VIP and available from