On September 19, 2005, Naoufel Ben Rabah defeated Arturo Morua to become the #1 mandatory challenger for Ricky Hatton's International Boxing Federation (IBF) title. In accordance with the IBF rules, Hatton would be obligated to defend against Rabah either before or on March 5, 2006.
Due to Hatton's pending court case pertaining to the WBA title, the IBF respectfully decided to hold off notifications. However, with the case still pending and Team Hatton recently considering fighting someone other than Rabah on May 13, the IBF has rightfully now taken action.
On March 21, the eminent IBF Championship Chairman Lindsey E. Tucker, Jr. ordered for negotiations to commence immediately between both parties. We appreciate and applaud Mr. Tucker and the IBF for holding to their word.
It is now time for Team Hatton to enter talks with our Las Vegas-based representative and the Picasso of boxing, Mr. Sampson Lewkowicz.
In the event a Hatton-Rabah fight is not negotiated by April 21, the IBF will order for a purse bid to be held on Tuesday, May 2, 2006.
We know Ricky Hatton is a respectable gentleman that would rather lose the title in the ring than in the office. He is a true champion and we hope his handlers allow him to be a man of honour