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 Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 21:38 GMT
Hatton cruises in Newcastle
Ricky Hatton never looked in danger of defeat
Ricky Hatton (left) never looked in danger
Ricky Hatton defended his WBU light-welterweight title with a fourth round knockout of Joe Hutchinson in Newcastle on Saturday.

Hatton was given a good workout before raising his unbeaten record to 31 fights.

The Manchester fighter unleashed a sharp left hand which finally broke the resistance of the brave late substitute who dropped to the canvas and was counted out.

It was Hatton's eighth defence of his WBU light-welterweight title but it did not prove to be the mismatch which many had predicted.

I don't know what it is about round four but I do get better as I go on

Ricky Hatton
Hatton broke through Hutchinson's defence in the first round with a belter of a right hook.

But the American recovered quickly to see out a tight opening period.

Hutchinson looked in good shape despite slipping in round two but a quickfire burst of left hooks gave the crowd a glimpse of what was to come.

By round four Hatton's constant pressure began to tell and a superb bodyshot left Hutchinson slumped on the floor.

"I don't know what it is about round four but I do get better as I go on," Hatton said.

"I didn't think he'd go in the opening rounds. I wanted to impress and when you get a test you always want to it better than your rival.

"But there's still stuff to work on - so there's still room for improvement."

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 Ricky Hatton
"My start was sloppy"

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