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
News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
News
news
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
New Articles
i100... with this review
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
Sport
footballTim Sherwood: This might be th match to wake up Manchester City
Arts and Entertainment
musicHow female vocalists are now writing their own hits
New Articles
i100
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
News
Blahnik says: 'I think I understand the English more than they do themselves'
people
Arts and Entertainment
Michelle Dockery as Lady Mary Crawley in Downton Abbey
TVInside Downton Abbey series 5
Life and Style
The term 'normcore' was given the oxygen of publicity by New York magazine during the autumn/winter shows in Paris in February
fashionWhen is a trend a non-trend? When it's Normcore, since you ask
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Research Manager - Quantitative/Qualitative

£32000 - £42000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client is curr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam