Newly crowned WBA Bantamweight Champion of the World Nina Hughes has signed a long-term promotional deal with Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom Boxing.
The 40-year-old from Billericay in Essex, who is trained by Kevin Lilley and managed by Lee Eaton, ripped the WBA crown from the USA’s Jamie Mitchell at the Hilton Palm Jumeirah in Dubai last month to become Britain’s latest World Champion.
A four-time ABA National Champion, the mother of two only turned professional in December 2021 at the age of 39. She landed the vacant Commonwealth and WBO International Titles in her third fight against Tysie Gallagher in July before making history against Mitchell in just her fifth fight in the paid ranks.
“It was an amazing feeling being crowned World Champion,” said Hughes. “It made all of the hard work and sacrifices over the years worthwhile. My dreams had finally become a reality.
“Hopefully it inspires girls around the world to follow their dreams and take up boxing no matter what obstacles get in the way. Not many people believed I could do it because of my age apart from my team and the people around me that know me well, so I was glad to prove everyone wrong.
“I’m really excited to be teaming up with Eddie Hearn and Matchroom. I’m looking forward to boxing on the big stage in some big exciting fights. The aim will be to win more World Titles and unify in the Bantamweight division. I want the big fights that people want to see.”
“I’m delighted to welcome another World Champion to the Matchroom stable in WBA Bantamweight champion Nina Hughes,” said Matchroom Sport Chairman Eddie Hearn. “This is quite a remarkable story, after an impressive amateur career, Nina waited until she was 39 years old to turn professional and within 12 months captured the World Title against highly regarded Jamie Mitchell on away soil. She has now put herself in the frame for huge domestic and unification fights and we look forward to delivering what she deserves in 2023.”
“I am over the moon for Nina,” said Eaton. “Nina came into the game very late turning pro at 39 and within 12 months she’s had five pro fights, won the WBO International and Commonwealth Titles, and then gone over to Dubai and beat the current WBA World Champion very comfortably.
“When I signed Nina we always had the aim of becoming World Champion but to do it this quick is incredible. We want the big fights straight away – Shannon Courtenay or Ebanie Bridges next would be ideal. With Matchroom’s backing I believe she can go on to unify the division and even become undisputed.
“I’ve known Nina a long time as we are both from same area – it’s a mad situation! I messaged Nina about turning over in 2017 and she said she couldn’t be bothered with selling tickets! Now five years later she’s World Champion within 12 months which is a very proud moment for me as her manager and friend.”
You can follow Nina’s journey on Twitter: @NinaSmith888 and Instagram: _ninahughes