MALMESBURY boxer Joe Hughes has had to withdraw from his proposed fight with Calum Cooper at Swindon’s Oasis Leisure Centre on March 9 because of a persistent knee problem.

It is particularly frustrating for Hughes who had been sparring with Darren Hamilton ahead of the latter’s unanimous 12-rounds points verdict in his British light welterweight title defence against Steve Williams in Liverpool at the weekend.

Hughes has been to see a knee specialist in Bath and has been diagnosed with iliotibial band syndrome, a condition of the tendon connecting the hip to the knee.

“I thought I had got over the problem, but it does take a long time to heel,” said Hughes. “When I went to Bath, I had an injection in the knee in order to reduce the swelling.

“I have to rest it for a month and then ease back into training so I probably won’t be able to fight for four months.

“It is very frustrating as all I want to do is fight and keep busy.

“The last 18 months have been difficult as I have also been troubled by hand and wrist problems but they have been great recently and the sparring with Darren had been going so well.”

Hughes, a former Senior ABA light welterweight champion, has won six of his seven pro fights, the only blemish coming in a disputed points defeat against Joe Elfidh in Sheffield.