HUGHIE WILSON has joined the growing stable of professional boxers trained by York legend Henry Wharton.

Wilson becomes the fourth pro fighter to be trained by former world title challenger Wharton out of Henry’s Gym in Acomb, along with George Davey, Mitchell Barton and Rafal Benka.

The 20-year-old was scheduled to make his debut on the Bateson Promotions show at the Elland Road Pavilion on April 3, which also featured York’s Michael Fafera.

But the show was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has put almost all sport across the country on hold.

Wilson had a promising career as an amateur boxer, winning a pair of Yorkshire titles and reaching the semi-finals of the national championships.

Aged 16, the Doncaster-born fighter decided to move from his amateur club in South Yorkshire to link up with Wharton as his new coach in York.

Wilson had an extended period out of the sport as work commitments became his priority.

However after persuasive talks from Davey and Wharton, Wilson decided to embark upon a journey into the paid ranks.

“I thought that I’d give it a shot as a professional,” said Wilson.

“There are a lot of lads that I boxed in the amateurs that have now turned professional.

“Some of them beat me but I beat some of them too.

“I thought I’d try my hand at the professional game as I felt like the time was right now.

“I’ve decided to go pro with Mark Bateson because he promotes all of his shows in Leeds and I’ve got a lot of friends from around that area and that worked best for me in selling tickets.

“He’s got a lot of good fighters. Jack Bateson, Billy Pickles and lots more too.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity.”

Wilson - who works as a fabric supplier by day - almost gave up on the sport as an amateur almost three years ago, but said that the bug for boxing enticed him back into the ring.

“In 2017, I boxed in a tournament in Denmark and I got disqualified for ducking too low,” he recalled.

“I never ducked low in the fight, but it is what it is.

“I didn’t win a national title or an international box cup as an amateur, and I’d just began working so I pretty much packed in boxing.

“For a couple of years I didn’t box and I just started to miss it.

“I’d be shadow boxing around the house!

“I came back and sparred George and caught the bug for it again.

“I didn’t want to go back to the amateurs at my age so that’s why I decided to turn my hand to pro game.”

Wilson will campaign at around the super lightweight mark (140lbs) in the professional game, despite standing at a height of 6ft.

“I’m tall for the weight and quite rangy in my style, boxing off the back foot and jabbing-and-moving,” he explained.

“I like fighters that come towards me, which shorter fighters have to do.

“Henry suits that style of countering off the back foot, which is something that I’ve always done throughout my career.

“I’m 6ft which is very big for a welterweight.

“The average welterweight’s height is around 5ft 7in.

“But, I love the style of boxing on the back foot and that’s something that is encouraged at this gym.

“For me, it’s just about mastering that as I turn to be a professional now.”

Wilson is full of praise for fellow gym-mate Davey and believes that the super welterweight, who has own both of his two professional fights to date, has the ability to go “all the way” in the sport.

Shortly after his link-up with Wharton, he shared the ring in sparring with the Davey, saying “he’s the best sparring partner I could have”.

“I got to know Henry when I was fighting for my old club in Doncaster during the Yorkshire championships,” Wilson recalled, when aged 16.

“We got talking and I came down to his gym for some sparring.

!At the time, I really rated myself as a fighter.

“Then I sparred George and I just couldn’t hit him.

“I thought to myself ‘I’ve never heard of this kid before and he’s out-boxing me’.

“I thought that my old trainer, meaning nothing against him, had taken me as far as he could and that I could improve in York.

“Henry’s been up there before himself as a fighter - he’s boxed for a world title three times.

“It’s a good distance for me to travel - an 80 mile round trip - but you can’t put a price on getting better at your trade.

“It’s worth the trek.

“I like the hard sparring that this gym offers.

“Some lads like to take it easy in sparring, but you’re just going to get found out when you get put in a tough fight.

“I do a lot of rounds in sparring with George and he’s an unbelievable fighter.

“He’s the best sparring partner I could have.

“For me, if I can be half as good as George is then I’ll be happy.”