Belfast boxer James Fryers aims to move closer to title shot
James Fryers faces up to an important hurdle in his career at the Europa Hotel this Saturday night when he competes in a British title eliminator.
The unbeaten Belfast super-featherweight meets Yorkshireman Maxi Hughes over 10 rounds as he looks to edge closer to a shot at reigning British champion Liam Walsh.
Indeed, victory would lead to a race between Fryers and fellow Belfast man Anthony Cacace - the Celtic champion - to seal a shot at the Lonsdale belt.
Fryers has chalked up 11 straight victories against moderate opposition so Hughes is a significant step up in class as he has only lost to top British fighters Martin Ward and Scotty Cardle.
Still based at the Immaculata gym with coaches 'Nugget' Nugent and former British champion Martin Lindsay, Fryers combines full-time work at GymCo along with his boxing, which leaves him very little time for socialising.
"It can be very exhausting but it's the only way for me and the other guys in the gym like Fredo Meli because we have bills to pay," said Fryers who knows that substantial pay-days will only come if he reaches British title level and beyond.
"I think because we have to do it the hard way, we can't be purely full-time professionals, it gives us that little bit more hunger and desire to make it and it's only for a short time because boxing is a very short career."
The former Ulster amateur champion now has the chance to show that he belongs in that kind of company with victory over Hughes.
Fryers added: "This could be a big stepping stone to where I want to get to by the end of the year - I want that British title shot.
"Hughes is ranked seventh in Britain and I'm about 10 so it's going to be a good fight - he's a good, slick southpaw so it'll be a good test for me."
The Mark Dunlop show will also feature Commonwealth Games silver medallist Joe Fitzpatrick, Tyrone McCullagh, Paul Hyland jr, James Tennyson and Fergal McCrory.