Boxing: Hatton lines up title date as return from eye injury

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Ricky Hatton's career will resume in August when he returns from an injury to an eye that was so badly cut that it required plastic surgery. His comeback will be either a defence of his World Boxing Union light-welterweight title or a challenge for the vacant World Boxing Council version.

Hatton's promoter, Frank Warren, has said the bout will not be against Sheffield's Junior Witter, who has been waiting patiently for a fight with his domestic rival for over a year, although a Maine Road meeting between the two is still a long-term possibility.

At the top of the list is Italy's Gianluca Branco and he could be paired with Hatton in a fight for either the vacant WBC title or the interim version depending on what the current champion, Kostya Tszyu, decides to do. Tszyu, who was born in Russia but has been based in Australia since 1990, is considering a move to welterweight when he fights again in Moscow in September.

Hatton, 24, is unbeaten in 32 fights and is arguably the most popular fighter in Britain. His appearances in Manchester regularly attract crowds in excess of 15,000 at the MEN Arena.

Manchester's Michael Brodie will fight for the vacant International Boxing Organisation featherweight title when he meets Argentina's Juan Cabrera at the MEN Arena on 21 June.

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