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Boxing: Pedersen is Hatton's new opponent

Ricky Hatton will now fight Denmark's Dennis Holbaek Pedersen in front of 16,000 fans at the MEN Arena, Manchester, on Saturday night for the World Boxing Organisation's interim light-welterweight title.

Hatton's original opponent, Kelson Pinto, withdrew late on Wednesday night, prompting a desperate scramble to find Hatton a replacement and salvage the high-profile show.

The Danish fighter is a lightweight who has fought only once in 18 months, although he has a reputation as a skilful, light-punching boxer. His evidently slender credentials satisfied the executives at Sky and Showtime in the USA, who will both screen the fight.

"It is not ideal to have any opponents switched so close to a fight but I am a professional and I will deal with it,'' Hatton said.

Pedersen, 29, has lost twice in 46 fights but has often been in carefully matched contests and Hatton, who is unbeaten in 34 fights, has met better and bigger men on a regular basis.