Boxing: Body blow to Hatton's hopes of redemption

The Hitman's comeback ends in tears – and finally he throws in the towel

the men arena

The most famous – and certainly the most hyped – comeback in British sporting history ended in tears for Ricky Hatton here last night. Just as he was in his last fight against Manny Pacquiao three years ago, he ended up on the floor, knocked out in the ninth of a 10-round contest by the former world champion Vyacheslav Senchenko.

The ending was the one we feared, Hatton's attempt at redemption culminating in a crushing defeat eight seconds from the end of the ninth when he was left writhing on the floor in agony from a wicked left hook to the ribs.

It left Hatton gasping for air and although his 20,000 passionate fans urged him to rise and beat the count, he struggled to his knees but couldn't make it. He needed medical attention and the crowd was hushed but they applauded him – as did Senchenko – as he left the ring for the last time.

He looked positively skeletal, drawn and gaunt from his massive weight reduction – five stones lost since his boozing and binging days. Although he came out fighting like the old Hatton, it transpired that this time he was to be more the Miss Man than the Hitman.

He did amass an early points lead and there was certainly no faulting his aggression. He swung often, but more often than not wildly, and as the rounds ebbed away, so did his stamina. It was simply a fight too far. By the eighth, the right side of his face under his eye was swollen from Senchenko's slick jab.

Earlier on, with every punch cheered, Hatton did clip the 35-year-old Ukrainian a few times but Senchenko simply opened his arms as if to say: "You're not hurting me." Hatton had moved forward in familiar fashion, but this was not the Hit Man of old, certainly in the four rounds before the end.

So, the second coming of the Manchester messiah ended in disappointment but at least he had given it a go, unwise as that turned out to be. He had promised to unleash his pent-up emotion on Senchenko, beaten only once in 33 fights, and courageously he attempted to inflict a victory that would have led to an even more disastrous second venture for a world championship.

A heavier puncher than Senchenko would have taken him out much earlier, so open was Hatton to his accurately delivered jab and occasional body shot. It was the latter which did for him.

Before the fight, Hatton had said that one of the reasons for his return after a three-year absence was that he did not want his kids to remember him KO'd and on the canvas the way he was in Las Vegas by Pacquiao. They will now have to live with that memory. Hatton talked – and how he talked – a good fight, baring his soul, hoping to shed his demons.

Indeed, the night had been built up phenomenally as a Hatton Happening. No expense had been spared to make this a gala occasion. They even brought in the world famous MC Michael Buffer, though Hatton's ardent followers needed no urging to get ready to rumble.

The place rocked to the strains of 'Blue Moon' and the inevitable "There's only one Ricky Hatton". They were still singing the same tune as he left the arena but surely this had to be a valedictory serenade. I had made Senchenko ahead by three rounds, giving three to Hatton mainly for his go-forward gumption. It was sad to see him go, looking much older than his 34 years.

"I'm really heart-broken, gutted," he said. "I worked so hard. It was a very good shot. I'm a champion and a fighter." His trainer Bob Shannon added: "He looked old at times but whatever he decides to do, the team will stand by him." Then Hatton made the decision for himself, recognising that he had thrown the last dice. "I'm a happy man because I've found the answer," he said afterwards. "At least I know I don't have it any more. It was the answer I needed. I gave it my best shot but it wasn't the old me in there. I'm not going to kid myself. It just wasn't there any more. But I still feel I'm a winner. I'm not going to put myself and my family through that again. But I did all I could. I looked at myself in the mirror and knew it was over. So thank you everyone, that's the end of Ricky Hatton."

Scott Quigg, recently voted Britain's best young boxer of the year, added to his burgeoning reputation when he stopped Leicester's former bin man Rendall Munroe in six rounds to win the WBA international super-bantamweight title. The 24-year-old from Bury, now undefeated in 25 fights, was always technically superior with his quick punching.

The Welshman Gary Buckland retained his British super-featherweight title when Salford's Steve Foster Jnr retired at the end of the eighth, also suffering a series of heavy body shots and a head cut.

There was also a blistering performance from the unbeaten middleweight Martin Murray of St Helens, who confirmed his status as a genuine world title contender as well as claiming the WBA interim belt by stopping Venzuelan opponent Jorge Navarro, also previously unbeaten, in the sixth round.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Angel Di Maria is shown the red card
tech
Sport
Roger Federer after his win over Tomas Berdych
sport
Life and Style
News in briefs: big pants in 'Bridget Jones's Diary'
fashionBig knickers are back
Sport
James Milner is set to sign for Liverpool this week despite rival interest from Arsenal
sportReds baulk at Benteke £32.5m release clause
News
The controversial Motor Neurone Disease Association poster, featuring sufferer Michael Smith, has drawn a series of angry complaints
newsThis one has been criticised for its 'threatening tone'
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Technician

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an intermediate help de...

Recruitment Genius: CNC Turner

£20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This long established manufactu...

Recruitment Genius: Financial Reporting Manager

£70000 - £90000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Financial Reporting Manager i...

Recruitment Genius: Telesales Executives - OTE £25,000

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A young, vibrant and growing co...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral