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Audley Harrison Prizefighter return, Ricky Hatton on Let"s Dance for Comic Relief: Jeff Powell boxing column

Big mouth Audley is BACK but vows to let his fists do the talking, Price ready for Thompson and how Hatton entertained us

-Jeff-Powell-Ricky-Hatton-Manny-Pacquiao-more.html”>Jeff Powell's review of 2012, with Ricky Hatton, Manny Pacquiao and more
24/12/12

JEFF POWELL: De La Hoya on his way as Golden Boy applies for British license
17/12/12

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Harrison has returned to London from his Los Angeles home to take part in the Prizefighter tournament at York Hall, Bethnal Green on Saturday.

But he has told promoter Eddie Hearn: 'Don't expect a word out of me before the night. I won’t be saying anything at the pre-fight media events.

This time I will be doing my talking with my fists.'

To which we can only say: Hear, Hear.

Harrison has kept us entertained down the years with his ego-centric monologues but after his collapses against David Haye and David Price the time really has come for him to throw punches,
not phrases.

Hearn says: 'Audley loves talking so it will be interesting to see if he can go through with this. I might help him by bringing some tape to the press conference and sticking it over his mouth.'

Promoters normally expect the boxers to help them market their shows and in that sense there are few better salesmen than Harrison. But Hearn is happy that the biggest name in his eight-man Prizefighter line-up has already sold out York Hall in record time.

Hearn says: 'We regularly sell out Prizefighter, usually with the last batch of tickets going in the week before the event.

'But this time the tickets all went within three days of the announcement that Audley is taking part. Maybe some fans want to see him knocked out but whatever the reason he still draws a crowd.'

Last time out: Harrison lasted just 82 seconds in Liverpool last October when David Price knocked him out

Last time out: Harrison lasted just 82 seconds in Liverpool last October when David Price knocked him out

A-farce: British boxing fans were left feeling short-changed after David Haye cruised to a three-round box office win over Harrison in 2010

A-farce: British boxing fans were left feeling short-changed after David Haye cruised to a three-round box office win over Harrison in 2010

Golden hour: Harrison was triumphant for Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

Golden hour: Harrison was triumphant for Great Britain at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games

Whether, at 40 now, this will be his last chance to do just that will depend upon how he fares on Saturday.

The winner has to win three three-round fights – quarter, semi and final – and if Harrison fails as spectacularly as he did against Haye and Price he could be forced into reluctant retirement.

However, a heavyweight Prizefighter triumph rescued his career once before and Harrison is such an enigma that it could happen.

The biggest dangers to him appear to be Martin Rogan, another former Prizefighter champion, the experienced Essex-based Pole Albert Sosnowski and American knock-out artist Travis Walker.

Ready to rumble: Martin Rogan

Hard-hitting: Travis Walker

Huge threats: Martin Rogan and hard-hitting American Travis Walker (right) are also in action at York Hall

The evening will also see the professional debut of Tom Stalker, the captain of Britain's successful boxing team at the 2012 Olympics.

Stalker's four-rounder against Kristian Laight will fill the gap between the second Prizefighter semi-final and the final.

Hearn says: 'It has seemed a bit unfair that the winner of the second semi has had so little time to recover. So we would like to fit in an attraction like this at every Prizefighter.'

Show time: Tom Stalker will make his professional debut on the Prizefighter card in Bethnal Green

Show time: Tom Stalker will make his professional debut on the Prizefighter card in Bethnal Green

Stalker fell angrily short of a medal at the London Games but his style would appear to be more suited to the professional game.

Nevertheless – be it morbid curiosity or not – Big Audley is the main attraction.

If this is to be his swansong, it would be churlish not to wish him well.

Prizefighter will be live on Sky Sports on Saturday night.

Price is all right and ready for Thompson fight

Contrary to a bizarre flurry of tweets suggesting that the fight is off, David Price is scheduled to continue his steady ascent towards a world heavyweight title shot by fighting American Tony Thompson in his home city of Liverpool on Saturday night.

Promoter Frank Maloney has condemned the rumours as a mischievous attempt to disrupt Price's progress but says: 'Although this has cost us a couple of days of ticket selling we still expect another big night in Liverpool.'

Thumbs up: David Price, who watched his beloved Liverpool thrash Swansea 5-0 on Sunday, will fight Tony Thompson this weekend

Thumbs up: David Price, who watched his beloved Liverpool thrash Swansea 5-0 on Sunday, will fight Tony Thompson this weekend

Maloney is guiding Price along a similar path to that by which he led Lennox Lewis to world heavyweight domination and the fight with Thompson – who is threatening to ruin those well-laid plans – represents another step in the right direction.

Two of Thompson's three defeats in a 39-fight career came at the fists of Wladimir Klitschko, who Price hopes to challenge for the majority of alpha-belts late this year or early in 2014.

Price v Thompson is live on BoxNation Saturday night via Sky Ch 437 or Virgin Ch 546.

Murray out to ruin the party for Martinez in Argentina

Martin Murray's audacious attempt to relieve Argentina's Sergio Martinez of the WBC world middleweight title in Buenos Aires will be screened live on BoxNation on April 27.

This is a fight which merits a wide audience and Murray deserves his chance to shine on international television.

Martinez is the world's outstanding middleweight and one of the top five pound-for-pound fighters in boxing today. But he is in his late 30s and Murray is hoping that this will be the night when he slips slightly into decline.

Tough nut: Martin Murray will travel to Argentina later this Spring to fight Sergio Martinez

Home favourite: Martinez will be hoping to give the people of Argentina cause for celebration when he puts his world title on the lone against Murray

Showdown: Martin Murray faces a daunting task in Argentina when he collides with Sergio Martinez (right)

Argentina's president is promoting the event, in a football stadium, as part of a national day of celebration.

Murray must also expect increased hostility from the large crowd at a time when the dispute over the Falkland Islands is heating up once more.

But if they were looking for a no-risk festivity they could have picked an easier oppnonent.

Murray is a hard man and at the very least he will put Martinez through a fierce physical test.

Thanks for entertaining us, Ricky

Ricky Hatton was almost as big a hit in his first performance on Let's Dance for Comic Relief as he used to be in the ring.

Sinisterly clad as a member of the group Kiss, the Hitman threw himself into his routine with all the gusto which characterised his fights.

His choice of tune was appropriate – the Robbie Williams hit Let Me Entertain You. Hatton has never failed to do that.

Scroll down to watch the video

Let's dance: Ricky Hatton performs on BBC's Let's Dance for Comic Relief

It's a knockout: Despite a brilliant routine to 'Let Me Entertain You', Hatton was voted off by the judges

It's a knockout: Despite a brilliant routine to 'Let Me Entertain You', Hatton was voted off by the BBC judges

His appearance drew a large TV audience – just as his big fights always sold out.

But the most encouraging sight for his legion of followers was that he looked in good physical condition and very happy three months after his retirement.

Hatton promised he would not revert to his binge-boozing and junk eating after his one-fight comeback and the signs are that he will keep his word.

VIDEO Hatton enacts Robbie's Let Me Entertain You for Comic Relief

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Alexander passes up Money offer to hand Brook title shot

Despite a tweeted approach from Floyd Mayweather, Devon Alexander has promised to rearrange his world welterweight title defence against Kell Brook.

Despite the extra money he could make from fighting Mayweather, Alexander says: 'I owe this to Kell after postponing our fight because of my bicep injury.'

Brook will be even more encouraged to redouble his efforts in training if, as expected in the next few days, Mayweather confirms Robert Guerrero as the opponent for his comeback fight in Las Vegas on May 4.

Alexander versus Brook is being re-scheduled for late April or May.

Defending his title: Devon Alexander

Up for the fight: Kell Brook

Change of date: Devon Alexander (left) will re-arrange his postponed title fight with Kell Brook for April or May

Amir Khan: I don"t want sad end like Ricky Hatton

I do not want a sad end like Ricky! Khan vows to quit in three years, aged only 29

|

UPDATED:

23:19 GMT, 19 December 2012

Amir Khan is mapping out a six-fight finish to his career, determined he will not emulate Ricky Hatton's 'sad' exit from the ring.

Khan bounced back from two straight defeats with a comprehensive stoppage of the previously unbeaten Carlos Molina in Los Angeles at the weekend, putting himself on course for a rematch with Danny Garcia and then, hopefully, Floyd Mayweather Jnr in 2014.

But after seeing Hatton's comeback after a three-year absence end with a crushing stoppage defeat to Ukraine's Vyacheslav Senchenko last month, the 26-year-old Bolton fighter wants to make sure he has fulfilled all his ambitions in the sport before quitting for good.

Battle plan: Khan is hopeful of a rematch with Danny Garcia next year, but is determined not to end up like Hatton (below)

Battle plan: Khan is hopeful of a rematch with Garcia, but is determined not to end up like Hatton (below)

Ricky Hatton

'It was very sad,' said Khan. 'People asked me what I thought about him coming back and I said he shouldn't. He wanted to prove a point. He's a trier but at least now it will never be in the back of his mind.'

Khan added: 'I never want to be in that position where you retire and then come back after three years.

'When I retire it will be because I want to retire and I don't want to achieve anything more from boxing. 'It's important to leave the sport as you walked into it – being healthy and being a champion.

Handy: Khan triumphed over Molina on Saturday after two back-to-back defeats

Handy: Khan triumphed over Molina on Saturday after two consecutive defeats

'I know a lot of fighters when they retire want to go back in because they have unfinished business. I don't want to go that way. If I have unfinished business, I wouldn't retire.

'I will know myself when to call it a day. I will let my body make the decision. And when the time is right to retire, I will.'

Khan believes that will be in three years' time. He wants another go at Garcia, who took his WBA light-welterweight title in July, towards the end of next year and then plans to step up to face Mayweather Jnr in 2014.

Amir Khan

Carlos Molina

Bloody mess: The bout was stopped after the tenth round after Molina sustained a nasty cut above his left eye

'At 28 or 29 I will call it a day,' he added. 'I'm 26 years old now and I think in three years I can have six fights – and they can be six big fights. But I'm in no rush. Mayweather wants to fight for a couple more years.'

Khan added: 'In my career, I think we will definitely have a Mayweather fight. 'I want to fight in April but that won't be against Garcia because he is fighting in February against Zab Judah.

'I'm getting married in May, then I have a break because of Ramadan so I will fight at the end of the year. 'Two fights next year, and one of them will be Danny Garcia.'

Ambition: Khan is looking to the future in his role as co-owner and co-promoter of Golden Boy UK

Ambition: Khan is looking to the future in his role as co-owner and co-promoter of Golden Boy UK

The end of Khan's career could have arrived a lot sooner had he not dispatched Molina in impressive fashion, forcing the outclassed American to quit on his stool at the end of the 10th round.

It was viewed as a make-or-break fight for Khan after those defeats to Lamont Peterson and Garcia, and a third successive loss would have permanently damaged his reputation – with Khan unsure that he could have accepted the consequences.

'It would have made me an undercard fighter,' he added. 'I would not have packed it in, but it would have been very hard for me to come back.

'Confidence-wise, not being top of the bill, the main attraction, would be hard, especially because from day one coming from the amateurs I went to being the top of the bill. It would have been totally different, that's what I meant.

Centre of attention: Khan speaks to the assembled media on Wednesday

Centre of attention: Khan speaks to the assembled media on Wednesday

'I have been in the position where it was nearly over. That has motivated me and makes me train harder. I never want to be in that position again.'

Khan is already looking to the future in his role as co-owner and co-promoter of Golden Boy UK with Oscar de la Hoya, an offshoot of his American promoters.

His first aim is to recruit some of Great Britain's boxing medallists from London 2012, including Luke Campbell, Anthony Joshua, Fred Evans and Anthony Agogo – and he has not ruled out trying to sign up Nicola Adams, the winner of the first women's Olympic boxing gold medal, as well.

'Definitely,' he said. 'I think it would be a great idea to get a girl to turn pro because we've never had a professional like that with Olympic pedigree. It's something for the future.

'But I want to keep it exclusive. I want the Olympians. 'Maybe the heavyweight and some of the lighter weights – the middleweight, the welterweight. 'My brother Haroon is going to be part of it. You don't want too many fighters. You want the right fighters and the ones that will be good for us. I won't rush into it and sign everyone, I will just pick the best.'

Oscar De Le Hoya set to apply for British license – Jeff Powell

De La Hoya on his way as Golden Boy applies for British license

|

UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 17 December 2012

The Golden Boy is preparing to invade England with major boxing events show-casing Britain's 2012 Olympians on the under-cards of top Americans in world title fights.

Oscar De La Hoya and his company – in a move which will send shock waves through the ranks of the established UK promoters – are applying to the British Boxing Board of Control for a license.

They are also engaged in talks with several UK stars of the London Games, who are believed to include medalists Anthony Joshua, Luke Campbell and Anthony Ogogo.

Invasion: Oscar De La Hoya (left) could be set to sign up some British talent

Invasion: Oscar De La Hoya (left) could be set to sign up some British talent

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Jeff Powell: Over to you, Ricky… Froch hands over British baton to returning hero Hatton
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VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

The trans-Atlantic expansion of Golden Boy Promotions has been confirmed here in Los Angeles by chief executive Richard Schaefer.

He outlined his plans to British Board chairman Charles Giles and general secretary Robert Smith, who flew to LA for Amir Khan's resurrection fight on Saturday night.

Since Schaefer is a Swiss passport holder who is preparing to open offices in London and is already in negotiation with British television companies, they see no basis for objection.

Golden Boy are now the world's biggest promoters, staging more than 120 shows a year in the US and Mexico.

Schaefer says: 'There is fantastic opportunity for us in the UK. I have always said the British boxing fans are the most passionate in the world.

'Over here some people could hardly believe that Ricky Hatton sold out 20,000 tickets for his comeback fight before he even named his opponent.

'I love London and I will be spending a lot more time over there in the future.

'I am promising to help your Olympians maximise their potential and develop into big, successful stars. For that, I will be taking fighters under my wing personally for the first time.'

Schaefer is not only in discussion with the traditional UK television channels, such as Sky.

Intriguingly, he has sparked interest with British Telecom, who are rapidly becoming major players in the sports market, and is also exploring the possibility of an American network becoming the host broadcaster.

While he realises the impact this will have on the British boxing establishment, Schaefer does not expect the rivalry with Golden Boy's counterparts across the Pond to be bitter.

The initial concept is for no more than four shows a year and he says: 'I get on well with the British promoters. I have a good relationship with Mick Hennessy (who promotes Tyson Fury) and Frank Maloney (David Price).

'We have just enjoyed a positive negotiation with Eddie Hearn for Kell Brook to challenge Devon Alexander for his world title over here. Not only is Frank Warren an outstanding promoter but we are very good friends.

On the cards: Anthony Joshua (right) is believed to be in talks with De La Hoya's company

On the cards: Anthony Joshua (right) is believed to be in talks with De La Hoya's company

'I won't be trying to steal their fighters. But this is a competitive business so when any boxers become free agents at the end of their contracts then of course we will expect to have talk with those we like.'

Golden Boy's $200million-a-year turnover will lend massive weight to that bargaining power, as it appears to be doing with London's Olympic super-heavyweight champion Joshua and others of his team.

Several Team GB boxers have held back from committing their futures until their amateur funding runs out in March and the first Golden Boy promotion in Britain is not scheduled until the second quarter of the year.

Others under review are youngsters who just missed out on the Games 'but who have the ability and charisma we need.'

Schaefer is also tempting them all with the prospect of early US exposure on promotions over here.

Medal winner: Anthony Ogogo (left) shone for Team GB at the Olympics

Medal winner: Anthony Ogogo (left) shone for Team GB at the Olympics

In England, the 02 Arena in London tops the preferred list of venues. To fill that, Golden Boy will top the bills with big international names in world title fights.

For example, former champion Sugar Shane Mosley is planning to come out of retirement to challenge Paulie Malignaggi.

Says Schaefer: 'While that is coming too early for our first UK promotion that is the kind of fight which could take place over there.

'Adrien Broner is a dynamic younger champion who would relish the chance to do his thing in England.'

Nor is it beyond possibility that Floyd Mayweather – who appreciates his large fan base in Britain and often talks of how he would love to fight in London – could make the trip in 2014.

Schaefer said: 'We will promote in the UK with same quality and style we do in the USA.'

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Tyson still all man

Mike Tyson has been forced to deny a spoof report which went viral in Asia – where it was taken as fact – that he has undergone a successful sex change operation to become a woman.

Just as well for the author that he did not say it to the face of the youngest ever world heavyweight champion.

He may have mellowed into a showman now but there was a glint of the old Iron Mike when he lisped: 'I never lose touch with my masculinity.'

Still the man: Mike Tyson had to deny spoof reports he had undergone a sex change

Still the man: Mike Tyson had to deny spoof reports he had undergone a sex change

Pacquiao v Mayweather still on the cards

The mega-bucks fight the world has been waiting so long to see may yet happen, despite Manny Pacquiao's brutal knockout by Juan Manuel Marquez.

Floyd Mayweather is scheduled to make his post-prison comeback in Las Vegas on May 4.

While that will probably be against Robert Guerrero, the Money Man has told the PacMan: 'Ease back in with an interim fight of your own to make sure there are no after-effects from that KO and we might look at my next date, in September.'

Chance: Floyd Mayweather could still fight Manny Pacquiao in a big-money bout

Chance: Floyd Mayweather could still fight Manny Pacquiao in a big-money bout

Munroe calls time

Rendall Munroe – who went from a dustbin round in Leicester to a world title fight in Tokyo – has retired following his super-bantamweight defeat by the fast-rising Scott Quigg.

He leaves the ring with his dignity and our admiration for a most worthy career.

Merchant hangs up his microphone

The doyen of American TV boxing analysts called his last fight on Saturday night, Nonito Donaire's victory over Jorge Arce in Houston.

Larry Merchant has hung up the microphone. He is 81 yet only last year, in a feisty post-fight interview in the ring, he famously told an angry Floyd Mayweather: 'I wish I was 30 years younger so I could kick your ass.'

I am doubly glad now that he and I had a long, reminiscent chat in Las Vegas on the eve of Pacquiao-Marquez a week earlier.

Thanks for the memories and all the wisdom, Larry. We will miss you at ringside.

Legend: Ringside analyst Larry Merchant is hanging up the microphone

Legend: Ringside analyst Larry Merchant is hanging up the microphone

Ricky Hatton posts picture of black eye from gym

I must be mental! Hatton returns to gym two days into second retirement

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UPDATED:

09:22 GMT, 27 November 2012

Ricky Hatton was back in his gym today after his comeback was cut abruptly short by Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday night in Manchester.

The Hitman was knocked out in the penultimate round by the Ukrainian and announced his retirement an hour later.

But Hatton, 34, has vowed not to return to the vicious cycle of drink and depression which blighted him after his brutal defeat to Manny Pacquiao in 2009.

Battered and bruised: Ricky Hatton was beaten by Vyacheslav Senchenko

Battered and bruised: Ricky Hatton was beaten by Vyacheslav Senchenko

And he tweeted a photo of himself in his gym with the tagline: 'If I'm not sick of this place, ha ha. I must be mental.'

Hatton will now focus on his responsibilities as trainer and promoter as he guides the careers of the likes of Martin Murray and Scott Quigg.

'A fighter knows when it's not there, and it's not there,' he said on Saturday. 'I've had too many fights and burnt the candles at both ends.

End of the road: Hatton was knocked out (above) before retiring (below)

End of the road: Hatton was knocked out (above) before retiring (below)

Ricky Hatton

'I've lost four and half stone for this and my sparring was great but I'm not going to put myself through that torture again.

'I got the answers. I was crying in the ring and no doubt I'll be crying tonight but I'm happy. I had to go in there and find out and I did.

'I've no complaints. It's been three and a half years and you all know the story. I needed to put a few demons to rest and I said before the fight I felt I'd already won and that hasn't changed.'

Ricky Hatton is back in the gym

I must be mental! Hatton returns to gym two days into second retirement

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UPDATED:

17:53 GMT, 26 November 2012

Ricky Hatton was back in his gym today after his comeback was cut abruptly short by Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday night in Manchester.

The Hitman was knocked out in the penultimate round by the Ukrainian and announced his retirement an hour later.

But Hatton, 34, has vowed not to return to the vicious cycle of drink and depression which blighted him after his brutal defeat to Manny Pacquiao in 2009.

Battered and bruised: Ricky Hatton was beaten by Vyacheslav Senchenko

Battered and bruised: Ricky Hatton was beaten by Vyacheslav Senchenko

And he tweeted a photo of himself in his gym with the tagline: 'If I'm not sick of this place, ha ha. I must be mental.'

Hatton will now focus on his responsibilities as trainer and promoter as he guides the careers of the likes of Martin Murray and Scott Quigg.

'A fighter knows when it's not there, and it's not there,' he said on Saturday. 'I've had too many fights and burnt the candles at both ends.

End of the road: Hatton was knocked out (above) before retiring (below)

End of the road: Hatton was knocked out (above) before retiring (below)

Ricky Hatton

'I've lost four and half stone for this and my sparring was great but I'm not going to put myself through that torture again.

'I got the answers. I was crying in the ring and no doubt I'll be crying tonight but I'm happy. I had to go in there and find out and I did.

'I've no complaints. It's been three and a half years and you all know the story. I needed to put a few demons to rest and I said before the fight I felt I'd already won and that hasn't changed.'

Ricky Hatton retires from boxing for second time after defeat to Vyacheslav Senchenko

'I'm not putting myself through that torture again': Hatton retires from boxing for second time

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UPDATED:

14:11 GMT, 25 November 2012

It was five past midnight when, deep in the bowels of the Manchester Arena, Ricky Hatton appeared to face the media.

His right eye almost swollen shut and badly bruised from the stiff, robotic jab of Vyacheslav Senchenko, the Hitman announced his retirement from the ring for a second time.

Holding court in front of his girlfriend Jennifer and two of his closest confidants, Paul Speak and Richard Poxon, Hatton admitted that this was 'the end'. And this time, he meant it.

The end of the road: Ricky Hatton has called time on his boxing career

The end of the road: Ricky Hatton has called time on his boxing career

'A fighter knows when it's not there,
and it's not there,' he said. 'I've had too many fights and burnt the
candles at both ends

'I've lost four and half stone for this and my sparring was great but I'm not going to put myself through that torture again.

'I got the answers. I was crying in the ring and no doubt I'll be crying tonight but I'm happy. I had to go in there and find out and I did.

Painful defeat: Hatton was floored by a brutal body blow in the ninth

Painful defeat: Hatton was floored by a brutal body blow in the ninth

'I've no complaints. It's been three
and a half years and you all know the story. I needed to put a few
demons to rest and I said before the fight I felt I'd already won and
that hasn't changed.'

Just under two hours earlier, as the
final refrains of Blue Moon died away, Hatton began what he hoped would
be a second coming but what he prayed would be redemption. A brutal left
hook to the liver put paid to the former but by merely stepping into
the ring, he had achieved the latter.

On the attack: Hatton reels from a powerful right jab from Senchenko

On the attack: Hatton reels from a powerful right jab from Senchenko

'I had to find out if I could mix it at world level and I got my answer: I can't,' he admitted.

'I think I was four or five rounds up
but everything was heavy weather, everything was forced and what's it
going to take, someone holding a gun to my head It's not there anymore.

'I'm a happy man now. I don't feel like killing myself, I got the answers I needed.

End of the road: Hatton says he knows he does not have what it takes to carry on

End of the road: Hatton says he knows he does not have what it takes to carry on

HATTON ON TWITTER (@HitmanHatton)

Ricky Hatton took to Twitter on Sunday to confirm his retirement and thank his army of fans for their support. In a series of six Tweets, he said:

'Well, last night didn't go to plan I really wanted a happy ending but it wasn't to be. I would like to thank my team at Hatton promotions and Bob Shannon my trainer for everything they did for me on this long road back. If you're not aware last night at the press conference I retired once and for all from boxing. Last night I came to find out if I still had it at world level, I haven't. Redemption is what I wanted and that is what I got. I needed to find out. I am heartbroken but like I said before the fight, win lose or draw I can retire a happy man. The atmosphere the fans created last night was sensational again so I extend a huge thank you to each and every one of you. I am so so sorry. It isn't there anymore. But I can retire happy. I have the answer I needed '

'As upsetting as it is, it's right to say: “It's not there, that's the end of Ricky Hatton”.'

And as a boxer, it is. But this time, there will be no 'Ricky Fatton', no regrets and no wondering what might have been.

After his devastating defeat to Manny
Pacquiao in 2009, Hatton spiralled into a life of drink and drugs but
vowed this time to take a different path.

Earlier in the night, Scott Quigg and
Martin Murray took steps towards world title fights of their own with
impressive victories over Rendall Munroe and Jorge Navarro. Both are
represented by Hatton Promotions and their mentor will look forward to
plotting their rise to the top.

'I'm a different man now,' Hatton
concluded. 'I want to be the best father, the best boyfriend, the best
coach and the best and promoter I can be. It was so hard for me to
retire the first time; I landed myself in so much trouble but I'm not
going to do that again.

'I go into retirement a happy man.'

It isn't there anymore. But I can retire happy. I have the answer I needed.

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Ricky Hatton factfile

1978 – October 6: Born in Stockport, Greater Manchester.

1996 – Captures bronze medal at the World Amateur Championships.

1997 – September 11: Makes professional debut under the guidance of trainer Billy Graham and knocks out Colin McAuley in the first round at Kingsway Leisure Centre in Widnes.

1999 – Claims first pro title with a second-round TKO win against Tommy Peacock for the vacant Central Area light-welterweight title.

2000 – October 21: Beats Jon Thaxton on points to win the British light-welterweight title.

2001 – March 26: Wins vacant 'fringe' WBU light-welterweight title with fourth-round stoppage of Tony Pep.

2002 – June 1: Suffers first knockdown of his career in opening round against Eamonn Magee, but battles back to win on points.

2005 – June 4: Shocks the world by beating Kostya Tszyu, considered one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the world, in Manchester, winning the IBF light-welterweight title.
November 26: Overcomes nasty cuts to beat Carlos Maussa and add WBA crown to his IBF title.
December 21: Becomes first British fighter to receive the prestigious Ring Magazine 'Fighter of the Year' award.

2006 – Moves up to welterweight division and labours to victory against Luis Collazo, claiming the WBA title.

December: Awarded MBE in New Year's Honours list.

2007 – January 20: Knocks out Jose Luis Castillo, retaining IBO belt and winning WBC international light-welterweight title, which was later vacated.

June: Hatton's team agree terms with the camp of Floyd Mayweather for a December 8 fight in Las Vegas.

December 8: Knocked out in the 10th round by Mayweather in the first defeat of his professional career.

2008 – May 24: Retains IBO light-welterweight title by securing a unanimous points verdict against Juan Lazcano in front of 55,000 supporters at Manchester City's Eastlands stadium.

July 29: Announces split from long-time trainer Billy Graham.
September 3: Announces he will be trained by Floyd Mayweather Snr for his November fight with Paulie Malignaggi.

November 22: Wins light-heavyweight bout with Malignaggi in Las Vegas after the American's corner retire him in the 11th round.

2009 – May 2: Hatton's reign as light-welterweight world champion comes to a brutal end as Filipino fighter Manny Pacquiao delivers a stunning second-round knockout at the MGM Grand Garden Arena.

August 11: Hatton confirms an all-British fight against Amir Khan is “a possibility”.

2010 – January 13: Hatton announces he will return to the ring in 2010.

September 13: A spokesman for Hatton confirms the fighter has entered a rehabilitation facility due to 'severe depression' and a 'drink problem'. The announcement follows News of the World allegations of cocaine use by Hatton.

September 23: The British Boxing Board of Control announce they have withdrawn Hatton's boxer's licence.

2011 – July 7: Announces his retirement from boxing, more than two years after his defeat to Pacquiao.

2012 – September 14: Confirms at a press conference that he is to return to the ring, with a November 24 bout at the Manchester Arena against an as yet unnamed opponent.

September 28: Confirms he will take on Ukraine's former WBA welterweight champion Vyacheslav Senchenko in his comeback fight.

November 24: Stopped in the ninth round by Senchenko. Announces retirement.

Ricky Hatton offered title teaser by Paulie Malignaggi ahead of comeback

Hatton offered a title teaser by Malignaggi ahead of Manchester comeback showdown

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UPDATED:

22:00 GMT, 22 November 2012

Ricky Hatton's comeback opponent shied away from facing him in the pre-fight stare down.

Yet the world champion who Hatton hoped to relieve of his world title as early as next spring flew from America to say hello and assess the impending challenge.

Vyacheslav Senchenko arrived in Manchester aboard the Ukrainian president’s private jet but failed to appear at the town hall meeting with the Hitman.

Next opponent Ricky Hatton (right) speaks with Paulie Malignaggi at his pre-fight press conference

Next opponent Ricky Hatton (right) speaks with Paulie Malignaggi at his pre-fight press conference

Paulie Malignaggi turned up to talk pre-Christmas turkey about a two-fight deal to defend his WBA world welterweight title, starting in New York in April. If Hatton needed any more motivation to blow away Senchenko in the Manchester Arena on Saturday night then it came from Malignaggi.

The Italian New Yorker made it clear that if Hatton impresses in his first fight after three-and-a-half years then he is prepared to put his championship on the line almost immediately.

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Centre of attention: Hatton poses at a press conference at Manchester Town Hall on Thursday

Malignaggi, recovering from a cracked hand, said: ‘I’ll be ready by early April which I believe suits Ricky’s schedule. I’ll be rooting for him because while a rematch between him and me is a big fight he will have to look good to give added momentum to the interest in America.’

Hatton defeated Malignaggi when they were both campaigning at light-welterweight. However, the American put his career fully back on track by inflicting the only defeat of Senchenko’s career to win the welterweight belt and did it in Ukraine.

But a sell-out crowd of 20,000 will give their Hitman deafening support against Senchenko and Malignaggi said: ‘This guy will have trouble coping with the roars and with Ricky’s all-out aggression.

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

Welcome back: Hatton makes his ring comeback against Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday

‘Ricky needs to show he’s back big time because it wouldn’t do my street cred much good to take him on again if he doesn’t look like the Hatton of old.’

The Hitman assured him not to worry. ‘You’re not just going to see the old Ricky Hatton but an even better Ricky Hatton. I know not everyone will believe it but just watch on the night.

‘I can’t wait to pour out all the pent-up tension and aggression on Senchenko.

‘A lot of people who saw me bouncing around Manchester drunk as a skunk and weighing 15 stone only five months ago wouldn’t have thought this possible.

'But now I’ve never felt better in my life.’

Martin Murray interview ahead of Jorge Navarro fight

Murray puts Martinez talk on the backburner as dangerous Navarro awaits

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UPDATED:

19:01 GMT, 21 November 2012

Martin Murray is determined to take 12 months of frustration out on Jorge Navarro on Saturday – and grab his golden ticket to a world title fight with Sergio Martinez next year.

The 30-year-old middleweight faces the unbeaten Venezuelan for the vacant interim WBA belt as chief support to Ricky Hatton in Manchester.

And Murray, who has fought just once since drawing with then WBA champion Felix Sturm last December, has vowed to come through a potentially tricky night unscathed.

Head to head: Martin Murray (left) takes on Jorge Navarro in Manchester on Saturday night

Head to head: Martin Murray (left) takes on Jorge Navarro in Manchester on Saturday night

He is then expected to take on recently-crowned WBC champion Martinez on April 27 in Argentina

‘My preparation has gone well and I’m just looking forward to getting back to business,’ he told Sportsmail.

‘We’ve only managed to see a two-minute clip of him [Navarro] and it shows him knocking someone out in the first round. It told us what we already knew, that he can punch and he lets his shots go.

‘He looks powerful and plants his feet. He’s young, ambitious and unbeaten so it’s going to be a dangerous and hard fight but it’s one I’ve prepared myself for.’

Hard at work: Murray has been out of action since a points win over Karim Achour in June

Hard at work: Murray has been out of action since a points win over Karim Achour in June

Navarro fights outside of the
Americas for the first time in his 12-fight career but Murray won’t be
treating his challenger lightly.

‘No-one knew much about Breidis Prescott and he came over and knocked out Amir Khan,’ he added. ‘Someone who is unbeaten and unknown is always going to be dangerous and that’s how I’ve got to treat him.

‘He’s highly ranked for a reason. He’s unbeaten in 12 and knocked 10 of his opponents out so he can clearly punch. We won’t know properly what he’s like until he’s in the ring and I can feel him out.’

Close: Murray held world champion Felix Sturm to a draw in Germany last Germany

Close: Murray held world champion Felix Sturm to a draw in Germany last Germany

Murray’s sole bout in 2012 came when
he out-pointed little-known Frenchman Karim Achour in June, a far cry
from fighting Sturm in his backyard.

‘I wouldn’t say I wasn’t motivated for the fight but I wasn’t motivated for the opponent,’ he admitted.

‘I never cut corners in training and the day I do is the day I retire but every time I thought of fighting Sturm I got butterflies and thought “wow, I’m going to be in a world title fight”.’

‘I went from that to fighting a French lad who no-one knew anything about; he wasn’t at world level.’

Up next Murray could face Sergio Martinez

Up next Murray could face Sergio Martinez

The St Helens fighter only faced
Achour after a proposed date with Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr was scrapped
when Murray was denied a visa having spent time in prison when he was
younger.

‘I was training in
January and we had a date in April but that was pulled because we signed
for the Chavez fight so we didn’t want to take any risks,’ Murray
explained.

‘I wanted to fight and have a sharpener but I was advised against it so I went on holiday with my wife and kids and it was while I was there that I got the news the fight wasn’t going ahead.

‘I was gutted. I thought I was in a world title fight against a fighter I could beat. I signed for it and it was taken away.

‘I didn’t look at in terms of being punished again, I blame myself. Everything I did as a young lad was my own fault so not getting that fight was no-one’s fault but my own.

‘I’m a fighter and I want to be out all the time. I thought my career would take off after Sturm but I’m looking forward to a bright future.

‘I’ve got the fight on Saturday then I’m looking to get straight out again after Christmas. While I was frustrated earlier on in the year, I’m in a good place because I can see where my career is going.’

Ricky Hatton workout ahead of boxing return

No more Ricky Fatton! Slimline Hatton shows off slick skills ahead of ring return

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UPDATED:

16:19 GMT, 14 November 2012

Manchester City’s No 1 supporter was training like a demon for his comeback fight this afternoon while his upcoming opponent was on a fan pilgrimage to Old Trafford.

Ricky Hatton unveiled the reborn Hitman to the world’s media as he slipped off his shirt and gave a full bloodied demonstration of much of his old power.

Scroll down to watch Ricky Hatton in training

Trim: Ricky Hatton performs a workout ahead of his return to the ring in Manchester

Trim: Ricky Hatton performs a workout ahead of his return to the ring in Manchester

Hatton's hand and eye co-ordination were especially impressive as he worked with trainer Bob Shannon on a fast-moving speed stick.

Vyacheslav Senchenko finished his
workout an hour earlier and sped off with his team of fellow Ukrainians
to pay homage to Manchester United.

There will be 20,000 rabid followers of Hatton – and mostly City – in the MEN Arena next Saturday night, waiting to give Mr Senchenko a welcome made even more torrid by his affection for United.

Senchenko said: ‘I am one of many in my country who follow the Reds and I am excited that I’m going to visit the stadium. My favourite footballers in the world are Robin Van Persie and, with all his history, Ryan Giggs.

‘My son Danil (aged nine) is also a big United fan and I must go now to buy lots of shirts and other memorabilia to take home to him.’

Senchenko is also vowing to go back to
his adopted hometown of Donetsk in Russia with the victory which would
re-establish him among the leading contenders for the world welterweight
title he held until recently. He says: ‘I have come here to win. I am
the fittest I have ever been.’

Ricky Hatton

Ricky Hatton

Before and after: Hatton has lost five stone ahead of his boxing return

Ambitions: Hatton could fight for a world title next year if he comes through against Vyacheslav Senchenko

Ambitions: Hatton could fight for a world title next year if he comes through against Vyacheslav Senchenko

Hatton’s riposte: ‘That’s not going to happen.’ The Hitman directed our attention to his muscular condition following his five stone weight loss and said: ‘Four and a half months ago I was 15 stone and could hardly walk back up the hill from the pub. And when I did get there, I had to sit down and take a rest before trying to climb the stairs to the bedroom. In all honesty, after all the boozing and blowing up and all the madness I put myself through, you shouldn’t be looking at someone in this condition.

‘But here I am and I feel as great as I look. I’m absolutely confident that no matter what everyone has been saying, this comeback is going to be great.

‘When I started just working out in the gym and changing my lifestyle, I felt well and I started watching other fighters more closely on the box. I found myself sitting on the sofa watching Amir Khan and Kell Brook and thinking “what the hell am I doing sat here”'

Senchenko admits he is convinced that Hatton will be back to his formidable old best. He says: ‘Although I think I can beat him, I know it will be a very tough fight. Hatton wouldn’t be coming back unless he has proved to himself in the gym that he can be as good as when he was a world champion’.

Tough task: Hatton's opponent Senchenko (below) has lost only once during his career

Tough task: Hatton's opponent Senchenko (below) has lost only once during his career

Vyacheslav Senchenko

The Ukrainian lost that status when he was stopped by Pauli Malignaggi, surprisingly, in his last fight. That his only defeat and he blames it on swelling around his right eye which badly affected his vision. But he remembers, with some irony, that when he was still the WBA welterweight champion, he met Hatton at that organisation’s annual convention in Panama.

He said: ‘We were photographed together because there was talk of us having this fight. But he was so heavy that I was worried he’d be too big for me and we might have to go up a couple of divisions if it was going to happen’.

Hatton’s regime has brought him back down to his fighting weight but he does not credit his return to boxing for saving him from self-destruction. He said: ‘I saved myself when I realised I had to live better for myself and my family. And the change is permanent.'

Even so, he plans to celebrate his return to the big time with a sample of his old ways…by raising a glass of beer to his fellow City fans.

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Martin Murray to fight Jorge Navarro for vacant WBA interim middleweight title

Murray gets shot at unbeaten Navarro for vacant WBA interim middleweight title on Hatton undercard

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UPDATED:

20:18 GMT, 7 November 2012

Martin Murray will fight for the vacant WBA interim middleweight title against unbeaten Venezuelan Jorge Navarro on the undercard of Ricky Hatton's comeback at the Manchester Arena on November 24.

The 30-year-old from St Helens has endured a frustrating year after drawing with then world champion Felix Sturm last December.

Murray has had only one fight since then, a points win over Frenchman Karim Achour in June, but hopes to get back on track with victory over Navarro.

Dangerous fight: Murray

Dangerous fight: Murray

'This is a dangerous fight,' he said. 'It has been tough getting an opponent, but Navarro is the only fighter ranked in the top 10 willing to fight me.'

Murray held the British title until recently and was ordered to face Commonwealth champion Billy Joe Saunders but that clash failed to materialise.

Subsequently, Murray was stripped of his title and Saunders will instead face Nick Blackwell for the vacant strap at the Excel Arena in London on December 15.

Since drawing with Murray last year, Sturm lost his WBA Super title to Australian Daniel Geale but he is set to be stripped of his newly-acquired honour after opting not to fight regular champion Gennadiy Golovkin.

Murray is ranked third by the WBA, four places above his younger opponent, and will hope that victory later this month will propel him into contention for title challenges.

Navarro has been a professional for six years but has fought just 12 times, stopping 10 of his opponents early with his last victory coming against Javier Gonzalez in August.