Hughes will challenge Ward for the British super featherweight title in Manchester on Saturday night.
Previously, the Rossington fighter battled to a contentious draw with Ward before being forced to retire in the rematch after suffering a badly broken nose.
Southpaw Hughes is hoping to make it third time lucky but says he will not be looking back in order to take steps forward.
“We know each other well,” he told VIP Boxing. “We’ve shared the ring twice, 15 rounds in total.
“But I’m not taking anything from those two fights we had previous.
“I’m going in there with a totally different mindset.
“I’m taking his title.
“He’s going to have to shoot me to stop me taking that title.”
One thing is for certain, Hughes will have plenty of pent up frustration to take out on Ward this weekend.
The bout will be the 27-year-old’s first for 11 months as he waited for a British title opportunity which looked as though it would never materialise.
He declared himself ‘the forgotten man,’ feeling overlooked in the British title picture as the likes of Barnsley’s Commonwealth champion Andy Townend was given an opportunity.
And he admits he very nearly walked away from the sport.
“It’s been really hard,” he said. “It’s been nearly a year since I have fought.
“There’s been messing about with the Board whether I was going to be made mandatory or fighting him or him.
“I felt like packing in numerous times.
“I missed out on going to New York with my missus because I was waiting for a date, waiting for the phone to ring.
“It didn’t ring until just before Christmas.
“But it’s here now so I can’t grumble no more. I’ve got the big shot that I’ve always wanted.”
Opponent Ward remains unbeaten, though his previous stalemate with Hughes is one of two draws on his record.
He beat Townend to claim the vacant strap in September before making a successful defence against Ronnie Clark in November when he picked up a narrow points triumph.