MALMESBURY fighter Joe Hughes says he is looking make a statement as he bids to become European champion for the second time next month.

The 29-year-old won the EBU European super-lightweight crown when he travelled to Italy and defeated Andrea Scarpa just under a year ago.

However, Hughes then lost his belt when he was controversially outpointed by Liverpool’s Robbie Davies Jr in his opponent’s home town in March of this year.

The Malmesbury man has suffered a turbulent year as he was set to take on Lewis Ritson in August, only to suffer a back injury, which subsequently forced him pull out of the contest.

Hughes has now been handed another shot at the European title and he will come up against Spaniard Sandor Martin – who boasts a healthy record of 35-2 – on Matchroom Spain’s show in Badalona on Thursday, December 12.

Martin opted to fight Hughes as a voluntary title defence, but the Malmesbury man says he is feeling confident ahead of what will be his fourth bout in total with the continental strap on the line.

“The period after fighting Robbie was a frustrating one for me,” said Hughes, who was beaten by Antony Yigit in his first tilt at the European title in December 2017.

“Most people thought I won the fight, but I just didn’t get the decision.

“Robbie then ended up having a world title eliminator against Lewis Ritson, and I was due to fight him as well.

“It was a tough because, not only was it another defeat on my record, it was everything else that would have come with it too, like the next fight and the opportunities.

“Then, I had my injury but thankfully it has all worked out quite well and I’m ready to go in December now.

“It’ll be good to go out and prove that I should be European champion as I don’t feel like I lost the title.”

Hughes and Martin have shared a couple of opponents, as both men beat Scarpa to claim the European title, while they both lost to Sweden’s Yigit.

Despite this, Hughes says it would be wrong of him to draw comparisons from his own record and Martin’s.

“You can’t read too much into the records but I do think it is going to be an even fight,” said Hughes.

“He’s at a good level. I think he is on a similar level to me but he currently has the belt.

“I’ve watched a few of his fights, he’s a tall southpaw and he has a little bit more experience than me so I’m sure he will be confident.”