Boxing: Hatton in trainer split
Tuesday 29 July 2008
Ricky Hatton will head into his world title clash against Paulie Malignaggi in November without trainer Billy Graham in his corner after confirming their 11-year partnership has come to an end.
Graham has ended months of speculation about his future by announcing he will retire from the sport following one final job in the corner of journeyman Ojay Abrahams in Watford this Friday night.
Hatton's father Ray was quick to pay tribute to Graham, who took the teenage Hatton into his Salford gym and moulded him into one of the finest fighters Britain has ever produced.
Ray Hatton told PA Sport: "Ricky and Billy had a meeting yesterday in which Billy admitted he was not going any further. It was quite emotional because they have been together for so long.
"It's a sad day. Billy will always be remembered as one of the world's great trainers and to go out after a win in front of 58,000 people in Manchester will be a fitting end to his career.
"But everybody knew Billy had been struggling in recent years with a few health problems and it was becoming increasingly painful for him to train Ricky. We knew the bombshell was coming and it was just a question of when."
Hatton is now likely to be trained by Graham's assistant Lee Beard for his fight against Malignaggi. He will sit down with his team to discuss a permanent replacement in due course.
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