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Page last updated at 06:06 GMT, Saturday, 27 March 2010

Matthew Hatton wins European welterweight belt

Matthew Hatton
Hatton improved his record to 39 wins from 45 fights

Matthew Hatton moved out of his brother Ricky's shadow to win the vacant European welterweight crown with a unanimous verdict over Gianluca Branco.

Hatton, often on the undercard to his former two-weight world champion sibling, produced a slick performance in Dagenham to overwhelm the Italian.

The 28-year-old, who took the fight at short notice, was the busier fighter and a clear winner on all three cards.

"I've had bad luck, but knew I was capable of this," he told Sky Sports.

Hatton, who had perhaps been unfortunate to be awarded only a draw two fights ago when he fought Lovemore N'dou for the little-regarded IBO welterweight title, added: "I knew that when I stepped up in class I could be better.

"I beat a world class fighter and I'm over the moon. I was outworking him and boxing his ears off.

606: DEBATE

"I switched off in a couple of rounds, but when I was boxing and moving he couldn't lay a glove on me."

Hatton's veteran opponent looked younger than his 39 years in the first round, catching Hatton with a right straight through the guard, but by the end looked every second of his age.

Branco, a former European light-welterweight champion, had only lost previously to Miguel Angel Cotto and Arturo Gatti, but came up against an opponent showing new-found technical maturity.

Dominating the centre of the ring, Hatton picked off an increasingly frustrated Branco with his jab, while taking little in return.

"I'm so proud," said Ricky Hatton, who refused to be drawn on speculation that he is set to announce his own retirement.

"You think earlier in his career he lost a couple of six rounders and I knew he wanted to throw the towel in.

"I said stick at it and you'll get your just deserts and that's what he's done.

"He's gone from being a six or eight round contender to a European champion."

Sam Webb beat Anthony Small on a majority points decision to claim the British light-middleweight title.

Webb was on the back foot for most of the opening rounds as Small teased him, skipping quickly round the ring while landing some powerful punches.

Webb's title challenge looked to be in doubt in the fifth when a clash of heads left him with a nasty gash above his right eye.

But Small's workrate slowed and Webb took advantage by landing a neat upper cut in the ninth.

The judges' scores (115-115, 117-113, 117-112) meant Webb took the title from his London rival in only Small's second defence.



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