By Ben Dirs
BBC Sport at Manchester's MEN Arena
Ricky Hatton caused a sensational upset to beat Kostya Tszyu and claim the
IBF light welterweight crown in Manchester on Sunday morning.
Hatton, 26, dominated the fight with a high-octane display and Tszyu could not answer the bell for the 12th round.
Hatton negated Tszyu's dangerous right hand from the start, moving in close and punishing him on the inside.
And when Tszyu's trainer Johnny Lewis finally pulled his fighter out, Hatton was ahead on all three scorecards.
It was a highly-charged morning for the local lad and his 22,000 fans crammed inside the MEN Arena.
And the biggest fight in Britain for more than a decade also attracted the
great and good of Manchester, boxing and beyond.
Former world heavyweight champion Frank Bruno was almost reduced to tears
when he was introduced to the crowd before the fight.
And Australian actor Russell Crowe was roundly booed when he stepped between the ropes.
Hatton made his intentions clear from the outset, buzzing the Russian-born Australian from the opening bell and connecting with two stinging left hooks in round one.
Tszyu, a notoriously slow starter, looked slightly shocked by his opponent's
fizzing start and found himself on the ropes in the second as Hatton
unloaded some punishing upper-cuts on the inside.
Tszyu started to show his class in rounds three and four, landing his first decent right hands and making Hatton miss on the retreat.
But the 35-year-old champion's mouth was gaping as he gasped for breath and Hatton continued to rough his opponent up.
In round five, Hatton walked on to two big right hands and it looked as if Tszyu might be wresting control, but the challenger continued coming forward and seemed unfazed by the shots.
In round seven, Hatton went down on one knee after receiving a low blow and made Tszyu pay with two hurtful right hands and by round eight Lewis was gesticulating wildly in Tszyu's corner as the pendulum swung back Hatton's
The ninth was the defining round of the fight. Tszyu let go a flurry of low blows just before the bell, prompting Hatton to step aside and unleash a
huge left into the champion's groin.
Tszyu bent over double and took a minute to walk off the pain, but he looked
shell-shocked and the distress signals were in evidence.
In contrast, Hatton was still on his toes as he came out for the 10th and
produced perhaps his best round of the fight.
"The Hitman", bouncing in and out of range, connected with four big rights, a crashing left and producing some hurtful work on the inside.
Despite one last act of defiance from Tszyu in the 11th, a ramrod jab that stiffened Hatton, the challenger swarmed back to leave Tszyu looking hangdog as he trudged wearily back to his stool.
And just as the bell sounded for the start of the 12th and final round, Lewis informed referee Dave Parris that his man had seen enough, to tumultuous applause from the crowd.
Tszyu was the first to praise his conqueror, saying: "I have nothing to be ashamed of - I lost to the better fighter."
And Hatton, in turn, praised the dethroned champion.
"If I can be half the champion Tszyu is, I'll be doing very well," he told the crowd of 22,000 after improving his career record to 39-0.
"He's not a champion, he's a champion-and-a-half. I've become a champion and now I want to become a great one."