Boxing: Ricky Hatton choosing Vyacheslav Senchenko bangs the drum for ambition


Ricky Hatton has sold nearly 19,000 tickets for the event that will end his ring exile on 24 November and yesterday he added to their black market value by announcing a difficult fight against former world champion Vyacheslav Senchenko. In many ways the party just turned serious.

Hatton's last appearance in a boxing ring was in May 2009 when he was knocked out cold by Manny Pacquiao and the tiny Filipino has been placed front and centre as the root of Hatton's suffering ever since. Hatton has admitted he contemplated suicide at the lowest and darkest point of his depression, a time when a return to the ring would have been rightly ruled out.

It has taken a lot of time in the gym and with experts in their respective fields to get Hatton ready for the fight. He had to lose the weight, he had to reduce his excesses and more than that he had to convince himself that he could still fight. A planned return in 2010 collapsed in anger and his descent into a variety of abuses increased with frightening speed when he believed that it was all over.

However, the selection of Senchenko, when a dozen easier fighters came with willing resumes, suggests that the return has more to do with bold future ambitions than exorcising the demons left by Pacquiao's fists. It is also known that the selection was not universally applauded by the remaining and new members of Hatton's team; a team that is still trying to understand the fall-out between the boxer and his estranged parents, Ray and Carol.

Senchenko lost the WBA welterweight title earlier this year to American Paulie Malignaggi, who was stopped by Hatton in 11 rounds in 2008, but that is the Ukrainian's only defeat in 33 fights; he will also be several inches taller than Hatton and, alarmingly, remains understandably ambitious at 35.

It is a brave selection as it would be difficult for the WBA or any of the sport's diverse, pliable and often crazy sanctioning bodies to refuse Hatton a world title fight if he beats Senchenko. The obvious match for the future is Malignaggi, who defends the title he won from Senchenko in New York on October 20. He has not ruled out a fight with Hatton, or a return to the Mancunian's beloved Etihad stadium where the pair boxed on the same night in front of 55,000 people in 2008.

Hatton's return, unlike so many sad comebacks in boxing's unforgiving history, is not motivated by money. However, the chance to once again walk to ring with Liam Gallagher or Wayne Rooney holding his belts, and slip through the ropes in front of another capacity crowd has proved simply irresistible. "I'm human, I miss it," he has admitted.

The selection surprise of Senchenko means that on 24 November there will not be any confusion surrounding Hatton's return and everybody will know exactly what he has left to offer; hopefully, the risky and in many ways unnecessarily difficult selection will not end up haunting him like the Pacquiao fight has done. Hatton, by naming Senchenko, has only reinforced his image as a real fighting man and that man is somebody that the public is still clearly in love with.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

£23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

£14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower