Boxing: Hatton relinquishes IBF crown to target Mayweather

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The Independent Online

Ricky Hatton has been forced to relinquish his International Boxing Federation light-welterweight title to concentrate on a bold move to win the World Boxing Association welterweight version next month.

Hatton, unbeaten in 40 fights, won the IBF title last June when he forced Australia's Kostya Tszyu to quit at the end of round 11 in one of the finest performances by a British boxer.

Had Hatton decided to meet the IBF's requirements and fight his mandatory challenger, he would have missed out on his American world title debut against New York's Luis Collazo in Boston on 13 May.

Hatton's future opponent, Floyd Mayweather has been exonerated after an emergency meeting in Las Vegas that was called to investigate the disgraceful scenes in his IBF welterweight fight against Zab Judah last Saturday. In round 10 Mayweather's uncle, who is also his trainer and a former world champion, Roger Mayweather, entered the ring after Judah had hit Mayweather with two illegal punches. The fight continued after a ring invasion and Mayweather eventually won on points.

At the hearing Roger Mayweather was fined $200,000 (£114,200) and had his licence suspended for a year but Mayweather's share of $5m which had been withheld, was paid in full. Judah, however, has still not been paid and he could face further charges if a forensic expert confirms that he pushed two ringside officials and struck a third. Three years ago Judah was suspended after he threw a corner stall at the referee when he was knocked out in his fight against Tszyu.

Mayweather's victory was seen by some as confirmation that Hatton had done the right thing by pursuing America's leading boxing attraction into the higher weight division even at the cost of his IBF light-welterweight belt.