Nina Hughes hits the road to defend her world title against Cherneka Johnson in Australia – Ring News 24 | Boxing News

WBA bantamweight champion Nina Hughes 6-0 (2) will travel halfway around the world to defend her title for the third time when she takes on Cherneka ‘Sugar Neekz’ Johnson 15-2 (6) at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia on May 12.

The bout will feature on the undercard of the fight betweeen George Kambosos Jr 21-2 (10) and Vasiliy Lomachenko 17-3 (11) for the vacant IBF lightweight title.

The 41-year-old Hughes from Essex in England will need to figure out a way to adjust to the time difference in Australia.

“It’s going to be about 3 o’clock in the morning UK time, about 10 in the evening American time and about 10-11 in the morning Perth time,” Hughes said to the BBC.

“Normally we fight at night time but it’s on in the morning Perth time for American prime time TV.

“We’re trying to work out how to set the body clock when we get out there.”

New Zealand-born Johnson, 29, moved to Australia as a teenager and represented her adopted country as an amateur.

She won the vacant IBF super bantamweight title with a majority decision victory over Mexico’s Melissa Esquivel in April 2022 and successfully defended the title by unanimous decision against former world champion and compatriot Susis Ramadan in October 2022.

In June of last year Johnson travelled to London where she lost her title to Ellie Scotney on points at Wembley Arena.

Hughes turned pro in her late 30s and won the WBA belt in just her fifth bout, outscoring American Jamie Mitchell in Dubai in November 2022.

Her lone title defence was a virtual shutout over fellow Katie Healy last June on the same card that featured Johnson in her last bout.

Both boxers will be entering the ring off the back of almost a year of inactivity.

“It’s been hard because I thought I’d be boxing late last year, I was told October, then November, then December,” Hughes said.

“You’re training like half in a camp. You have to be prepared because they’ve given you a rough date and none of the fights ended up materialising, so it has been stressful but we kept chipping away until we finally got that fight date.”

Hughes says she is unconcerned about being the away fighter again.

“Obviously people like to have a hometown advantage but that sort of thing doesn’t faze me, I won my world title in Dubai so I’m looking forward to the experience, going over there, showing why I’m world champion and keeping that belt,” Hughes said.

“If it was America we’d only go for a week but obviously because of the distance and the time it takes to travel there we’re having to go two weeks before to acclimatise, get over the jet lag and train out there.”