Boxing: Former champion Ricky Hatton announces retirement

Britain's former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton has announced his retirement from boxing in a media briefing today.

The 32-year-old had been linked with several big-name fighters since his last fight, a defeat to Manny Pacquaio, two years ago.

A rematch with Pacquiao and a meeting with Floyd Mayweather Jr were mentioned but Hatton has decided to call time on a glittering 14-year professional career.

The Stockport-born fighter explained why decided to hang up his gloves after two years out of the sport in a media lunch in London this afternoon.

Holding back the tears, Hatton said: "I am very upset. It's a very sad day for me.

"I know it is the right decision though. I've known it was the right thing to do for 18 months to be honest.

"It's a bit of a relief to finally do it. It's been hovering over my head for such a long time.

"These last two years have been really frustrating. I hit rock bottom and it almost drove me insane.

"There's nothing more I love than training for a fight but I have no dreams left now."

The decision to retire signals the end of a dramatic and entertaining career that has seen Hatton achieve success at welterweight and light-welterweight level.

He beat Jon Thaxton to take the British light-welterweight title in 2000 and went on to dominate the division, with his most notable victory at that weight coming in 2005 against IBF champion Kostya Tszyu.

Hatton then beat Carlos Maussa before moving up to welterweight, where he defeated Luis Collazo to claim the WBA world title.

Rapidly earning a reputation as one of Britain's most popular sportsmen, he went on to challenge Mayweather in Las Vegas.

Billed as the defining fight of his career, watched by millions around the world, Hatton failed to take the American's WBC welterweight title after being knocked out in the 10th round.

Undeterred by his first loss in boxing, Hatton returned to winning ways with victories over Juan Lazcano and Paulie Malignaggi before calling out pound-for-pound champion Pacquiao.

The two met at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas in May 2009, when Hatton was knocked out cold in the second round to leave the Mancunian with a 45-2, 32KOs record.

Since his defeat against Pacquiao Hatton has fended off rumours of a rematch with Mayweather and Pacquiao whilst a clash with fellow Briton Amir Khan has also been mooted.

Hatton's career took a turn for the worse last September when he was stripped of his boxing licence after he was filmed allegedly snorting drugs.

The amiable fighter checked himself in to the Priory for treatment and has often talked about how he fears he may struggle to cope with life after boxing, but he is confident he will be able to channel his energies into his promotions company, which includes his brother Matthew among its fighters.

"It's not been easy for me but I'm confident I'll be able to stay on the straight and narrow," Hatton said.