Boxing: America the incentive for Hatton as career nears crossroads

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The Independent Online

Ricky Hatton is ready to turn his back on his thousands of home-city fans should he beat Kostya Tszyu to land the IBF light-welterweight title in the early hours of Sunday morning.

Victory over Tszyu, a Russian-born Australian, in front of a live prime-time American pay-per-view audience would open up more lucrative options for the 26-year-old, but would also mean moving to the United States. Hatton has fought 12 of his last 15 fights in Manchester.

He said: "Without a doubt if I beat Kostya Tszyu I will insist that we go over to the States because it is another stage of my career.

"I do not want people to think I just stay in the comfort zone of Manchester. There would be so many great fights out there and if I beat Tszyu I will have no fear of fighting anybody."

All 22,000 tickets for this fight sold out in under two hours when they went on sale last month. Hatton added: "I think [fighting at home] could be an advantage but only a very slight one. Tszyu is so effective that if anybody can deal with going into somebody's backyard, he can.

"But it can be very vocal, very loud and very passionate. No matter how experienced you are, you have to be a very tough man for it not to affect you."