Boxing: 'I want it written in capital letters that I will fight anyone, and it's not about the money'

Britain's world champion Ricky Hatton is annoyed. He tells Steve Bunce why .

It is obvious that Ricky Hatton is in a bad mood according to his dad, Ray. He will no longer make the tea at the family carpet shop. According to the boxer, he will no longer meet inferior boxers in fights that he has no heart for either. He needs a test, he wants a test and he insists that inside the next six months he will finally get one.

"Everybody that knows me has seen me change during the last year or so and that is because it has been very frustrating being Ricky Hatton," said Hatton at his gym in Denton earlier this week.

"I've not been happy with the opponents and I've not been happy with the way some things have been going and I'm not one to keep my mouth shut if I'm annoyed. This year I've been pissed off and I've let everybody know," said Hatton. That includes his dad and his promoter, Frank Warren.

Today Hatton is a happier man than he has been since last December and that is because at about 10 o'clock this evening he will step into the now familiar ring at the MEN Arena, in his home town of Manchester, for what he considers a real fight against a proper fighter. In the opposite corner will be the American Michael Stewart, who will step through the ropes knowing he is the underdog but willing, as ever, to test his limited skills against a better opponent.

The winner of tonight's fight will leave the ring with the World Boxing Union light-welterweight bauble, which Hatton is aiming to defend for the 14th time, and the right to challenge for the International Boxing Federation title sometime next year. It is the uncertainty of a real fight that has made Hatton so irritable and angry this year and he knows that a quick win this evening will not bring a big fight closer any quicker.

In theory, the winner of tonight's fight will meet the winner of the optimistically scheduled bout on 6 November between Australia's Russian emigré Kostya Tszyu and the American Sharmba Mitchell. However, Hatton has seen this fight announced and postponed too many times in the past and he has heard the rumours that it will be put back until next April or May.

"I really don't want to be sitting here hearing the same accusations that I'm avoiding the world's top fighters and just banking bundles of cash," said Hatton in the gym's tiny back room which doubles as a video parlour and tea kitchen.

"I want it written in giant capital letters that I will fight anyone, anywhere and it is not about the money. I know what people say behind my back and I want to put an end to that," Hatton said.

Back in April Hatton was less than 48 hours away from finally getting a fight against one of the sport's leading young contenders, but for some reason Kelson Pinto withdrew.

At the time, and with a capacity crowd of 17,000 already planning their Saturday night celebrations, a selection of absurd excuses appeared to shield the truth of Pinto's withdrawal. It was said that he had an injury, he was in dispute with his management, he had missed the plane and that he had remained in Brazil to be at his pregnant wife's bedside.

"I'm sick of hearing the excuses and this year I've heard plenty. Excuses mean nothing and excuses are bad for me because they make me look like the one that never wanted the fight so I have told Frank [Warren] to not give me any more excuses in the future," Hatton said.

"At the same time I understand just how difficult it can be to make big international fights happen and I know that there has been some bad luck involved and that Frank, with his justifiable reputation for delivering, will come through in the end. I know that and I'm sick of hearing people doubt both me and Frank," Hatton said.

When Pinto failed to appear, a Danish boxer called Dennis Pedersen was acquired for slaughter and fell in six easy rounds, but that was a quality fight, an entertaining match compared to Hatton's dismal appearance in June when he required 12 one-sided and unimaginative rounds to outpoint Carlos Wilfredo Vilches, of Colombia, in the same MEN ring and in front of the same faithful crowd.

"Both of those fights were disappointing to me and I don't wish to be disrespectful, but there was simply no way that I could lose either of them and I know that I went through the motions both in the gym and in the ring," said Hatton.

"That has all changed now and since Stewart was announced as an opponent I have felt totally different. I felt like I did last year and that is fantastic for me and I know it will be a good night for the fans," continued Hatton.

The fans had initially been slow to react to Sky's decision to switch their boxing schedule from Saturday night to Friday night, but during the last five or six days the box office at the MEN has been busy and a crowd of more than 12,000 is now expected.

There had been some concern, less than a week ago, that fewer than 3,000 tickets had sold which is not surprising considering that Hatton had become part of a Saturday night out and that Friday, in Manchester, is a night for a good drink and not a good night out.

Suggested Topics
News
A 1930 image of the Karl Albrecht Spiritousen and Lebensmittel shop, Essen. The shop was opened by Karl and Theo Albrecht’s mother; the brothers later founded Aldi
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmA cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Arts and Entertainment
Flora Spencer-Longhurst as Lavinia, William Houston as Titus Andronicus and Dyfan Dwyfor as Lucius
theatreThe Shakespeare play that proved too much for more than 100 people
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Stir crazy: Noel Fielding in 'Luxury Comedy 2: Tales from Painted Hawaii'
comedyAs ‘Luxury Comedy’ returns, Noel Fielding on why mainstream success scares him and what the future holds for 'The Boosh'
Life and Style
Flow chart: Karl Landsteiner discovered blood types in 1900, yet scientists have still not come up with an explanation for their existence
lifeAll of us have one. Yet even now, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Arts and Entertainment
'Weird Al' Yankovic, or Alfred Matthew, at the 2014 Los Angeles Film Festival Screening of
musicHis latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do our experts think he’s missed out?
Sport
New Real Madrid signing James Rodríguez with club president Florentino Perez
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
Travel
Hotel Tour d’Auvergne in Paris launches pay-what-you-want
travelIt seems fraught with financial risk, but the policy has its benefits
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe best children's books for this summer
Life and Style
News to me: family events were recorded in the personal columns
techFamily events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped that
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

Sustainability Manager

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: Scheme Manager (BREEAM)...

Graduate Sustainability Professional

Flexible, depending on experience: The Green Recruitment Company: Job Title: T...

Programme Director - Conduct Risk - London

£850 - £950 per day: Orgtel: Programme Director - Conduct Risk - Banking - £85...

Project Coordinator/Order Entry, SC Clear

£100 - £110 per day: Orgtel: Project Coordinator/Order Entry Hampshire

Day In a Page

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

A land of the outright bizarre
What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

The worst kept secret in cinema

A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

The new hatched, matched and dispatched

Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
Why do we have blood types?

Are you my type?

All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

Honesty box hotels

Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn