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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 November 2005, 22:42 GMT
Loveable 'Hitman' reigns supreme
HATTON FACT FILE
Ricky Hatton
Born: 06/10/1978
Turned pro: 1997
Divison: Light welterweight
Record: 40-0 (30KOs)
Alias: The Hitman
Height: 5ft 7in
Reach: 66in
Trainer: Billy Graham
Promoter: Dennis Hobson

IBF and WBA light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton may have followed in his father's footsteps and played football for Manchester City.

Instead, he chose boxing - after being told his legs were too short for kickboxing - and the sport is so much richer for his participation.

The self-confessed "Man City nut" is quiet, respectful and unassuming out of the ring.

But the Mancunian, who still lives at home in Hyde with his parents, is transformed once he crosses the ropes.

Hatton's trainer Billy Graham says: "Ricky's always telling jokes, but in the ring he's cold, merciless and an awful man."

It is those qualities, as well as considerable skill, which have made Hatton one of the biggest attractions in British boxing.

An all-action style and devastating left hook to the body - reminiscent of Julio Cesar Chavez and Mike McCallum - has helped too.

KEY FIGHTS
21/10/2000: Beats Jon Thaxton on points to win the British title
26/03/2001: Stops Tony Pep in the fifth to win the WBU world title
05/06/2005: Stops the great Kostya Tszyu to become IBF champion of the world
26/11/2005: Claims the WBA belt by dropping Colombian Carlos Maussa

As an amateur, Hatton lost to a Russian fighter in the semi-finals of the world championships in 1996.

He was so incensed at the verdict, he threw his bronze medal in a drawer and says he has never looked at it since.

Hatton signalled his professional intent in February 1999, halting Tommy Peacock in two rounds to claim the vacant Central Area title.

Then, in a British title bout, he showed he could battle and won a classic fight against Jon Thaxton on points despite being cut after 15 seconds of the first round.

Now I want to become a great champion
Ricky Hatton

It took just five rounds on 26 March, 2001 for Hatton to emphatically defeat Tony Pep and win the lightly-regarded WBU title.

That performance confirmed the "Hitman's" reputation as one of the most ferocious fighters around as he sent his opponent to the canvas three times.

But he had to wait a long time to get the chance to prove his pedigree against legend Kostya Tszyu.

Appropriately fighting in front of his adoring fans in Manchester, Hatton showed no fear, going after the Australian champion from the start.

He showed endurance - as well as power and heart - in the opening rounds.

And then dominated Tszyu - a recent pound-for-pound greats - forcing him to quit on his stool after round 11.

Carlos Maussa was next and the awkward Colombian opened up two nasty cuts above Hatton's eyes.

But the Hitman pounded his foe and finished the job off with a picture-perfect left hook to the chin.

A world of opportunities has truly opened up for Hatton - who was typically modest in triumph - and no-one can begrudge him any of his success.


WATCH AND LISTEN
Feature: A day with Ricky Hatton




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