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