Boxing: Sprott to fight on Lewis-Tyson card

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The Independent Online

The Reading heavyweight Michael Sprott has been handed the chance of a lifetime – a slot on the undercard of Lennox Lewis' world heavyweight title fight with Mike Tyson.

The 27-year-old was told by his trainer Ricky Maslin that he had landed a fight against an as yet unnamed opponent on the bill in Memphis on 8 June.

Sprott has a modest record on the domestic scene but challenged for the British title in his last outing in February. He came in at three days' notice to challenge the champion, Danny Williams, following the withdrawal of Keith Long, and retired after the seventh round.

"I heard that I might be on the bill a little while ago, but everything went quiet and I didn't think any more about it," Sprott said. "Then today my trainer called me and he said that I would be on the card, so I'm really pleased, it's a great opportunity for me."

Ricky Hatton's next defence of his World Boxing Union light-welterweight title could be the greatly anticipated fight with Belfast's Commonwealth champion, Eamonn Magee.

But Hatton, from Manchester, will have to wait for another week to find out. At a London hotel yesterday, the promoter Frank Warren was about to make an announcement about Hatton's sixth defence of his title on 25 May at Manchester's MEN Arena when another possible window of opportunity opened.

After going into a huddle with the fighter, his father Ray and trainer Billy Graham, Warren said: "It has emerged that 1 June might be a suitable date for both Sky and Showtime. But this has only just cropped up and we will have to talk to all parties concerned, including Magee."

With the proposed new date coming just a week before the Lewis-Tyson bout in Memphis, the final decision could rest with the American channel, Showtime.

The MEN Arena, capable of holding 20,000, is available for both dates and Warren said: "If it doesn't come off we will stick with our plans and the fight after will be Magee. We will make an announcement next week."

He insisted: "Magee wants to fight just like Ricky does. We all want the Magee fight to happen but it has to happen under the right circumstances. The 1 June date is on the Queen's Jubilee weekend and we have to consider if we want to go ahead over a Bank Holiday period."

If Hatton-Magee does not come next, Warren said: "We have three or four opponents we are looking at for Ricky."

Whatever the outcome Hatton will be ready. He damaged his left hand stopping the brave Russian, Mikhail Krivolopov, in the ninth round of his fifth defence in Manchester in February. But an X-ray has shown there was no bone damage and after undergoing physiotherapy Hatton said: "The swelling has gone down and I'm punching lightly in training again."

The 23-year-old Manchester fighter has set his sights on establishing himself as the top light-welterweight in the world. He believes he can clean up at home by overcoming Magee and Bradford's British champion, Junior Witter.

Warren said: "It's a good fight. You have two styles and can put a case for both fighters. I have seen Magee and I think he looks a bit weak around the body but he can counter-punch. I'm confident that the fight will happen and I believe Ricky will win."

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