Boxing: Hatton can show Amir the ropes

A Brixton heavyweight and a Bolton lightweight may be hogging the boxing headlines, but when it comes to the box office, Manchester's Hitman remains the top man.

A Brixton heavyweight and a Bolton lightweight may be hogging the boxing headlines, but when it comes to the box office, Manchester's Hitman remains the top man.

Ricky Hatton's return to the ring - and, it is to be hoped, to his old self - in defence of his World Boxing Union light-welterweight title against the American Mike Stewart at the MEN Arena on Friday is a timely reminder that for the moment no one does it better in Britain when it comes to putting bums on seats.

And no one has greater admiration for the recent accomplishments of Danny Williams and Amir Khan than Hatton. In return, both have spoken of their respect for the man who was among the first to offer them his personal congratulations for their achievements in Louisville and Athens respectively.

Although he is still only 25, Hatton is regarded as one of British boxing's senior pros, and as such he is well qualified to pass judgement on the pair of performances that have given the sport a welcome resurgence of public fervour. One boxer is a current stable-mate, the other could well become one. "It was great to see Danny knock out Mike Tyson," Hatton says. "No matter which way you slice it he beat a legend, and I hope that he will now win the world title, because it couldn't happen to a nicer fellow.''

As for Amir, Hatton not only has words of praise for his Olympic silver lining but also an offer of assistance. "He is a fantastic talent at 17. I know him personally. He lives just up the road, and my door is always open to him if he wants to come to me for advice. He's a nice lad with his feet on the ground - just like me!

"He has a great future whatever he decides to do. If he stays amateur for another four years it would be no bad thing. Nor would it be if he turned pro now, or next year. He is the flavour of the month and there may never be a better time than now for him to capitalise on it. He could move along very quickly in the pro game. Either way, he is in a wonderful situation.''

Hatton is also ready to show Amir the ropes by sparring with him: "Whatever he decides I think he should go to the professional gyms and work with pros like myself to get the feel of the game. That's what I did from the age of 16. But unlike Amir my ambition was never a gold medal. I always wanted to be a professional.''

Friday should be an oppor-tunity for Hatton to start showing Amir those ropes - from the inside - as the young man who is now in the middle of boxing's biggest, and most lucrative, tug of war for some years is expected to be at ringside as the guest of the promoter, Frank Warren. He is sure to receive as tumultuous a welcome as Hatton himself now that the North-west has a new hero to savour.

On paper this should not be the most arduous of tasks in Hatton's career, but it is certainly one of the most significant, as it is also a final eliminator to fight for the more highly regarded International Boxing Federation title against the winner of the forthcoming contest between two light-welterweight mon-archs, the Australian Kostya Tszyu and the American Sharmba Mitchell.

Beating either man would bring the global recognition Hatton craves, and he promises he is now over the summer blues which saw him question his own future after top-level bouts against Mitchell and Vivian Harris fell through. "I'm a lot more positive now. I know if I come through this I am going to get my chance to fight the best. I have got my hunger back.''

He admits: "To be honest, I've been a little cheesed off with boxing. The situation was getting me down. I really wanted that Harris fight because of all the bad-mouthing he'd been giving me, and when it didn't happen because of his financial demands it really pissed me off.

"I feel I've underperformed in my last couple of fights [against Denis Pedersen and Carlos Vilches]. Technically, things weren't right - my foot movement and getting in those sneaky shots, things that put me apart, make me different from a lot of other fighters. That's going to be put right. I can't wait to get in the ring again.''

Stewart, 26, is, like Hatton, a go-forward fighter. He has lost only twice in 40 bouts, one of them on a Hatton bill in Manchester in April, when he was dropped three times and unanimously outpointed by Mitchell. Judged on that performance, Hatton should be the first man to stop him.

The nom de guerre of the fighter who as a teenager served 18 months following a shooting incident is "No Joke''. Hatton himself can be a bit of a joker, as those hearing the message on his mobile phone will confirm, but now is the time for him to take care of serious business.

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
tech
News
More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete today
Arts and Entertainment
There has been a boom in ticket sales for female comics, according to an industry survey
comedyFirst national survey reveals Britain’s comedic tastes
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
books(and not a Buzzfeed article in sight)
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
fashionShame it had to end like that, says Alexander Fury
Arts and Entertainment
Mystery man: Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike in '‘Gone Girl'
films... by the director David Fincher
News
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Travel
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
News
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
News
people
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Nursery Assistant Plymouth

Negotiable: Randstad Education Plymouth: Randstad Education Ltd are seeking Nu...

PMLD Teacher

£120 - £140 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: The Job; Experienced PMLD Teac...

SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Randstad Education Leeds: Randstad Education is the UK market lead...

Day In a Page

Ebola outbreak: The children orphaned by the virus – then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection

The children orphaned by Ebola...

... then rejected by surviving relatives over fear of infection
Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
Paris Fashion Week: Karl Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'

Paris Fashion Week

Lagerfeld leads a feminist riot on 'Boulevard Chanel'
Bruce Chatwin's Wales: One of the finest one-day walks in Britain

Simon Calder discovers Bruce Chatwin's Wales

One of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?