British Central Area Welterweight titlist "Magic" Matthew Hatton will be looking to reverse one of the low spots in his career as he is scheduled to meet nemesis Francis Jones tonight in a non-title eight rounder from Doncaster, England. Some of Sports Network's best young talent will be on display, with light welter Nigel Wright, light middle Jason Rushton and light welter Gavin Down all vying for either English or British Area titles. Martin Conception, Steffy Bull, Dean Cockburn and Ricardo Samms are also scheduled to appear on the exciting bill. Sky Sports provides broadcast coverage nationally in the UK, commencing at 10PM on channel SS1. Boxingtalk.com had the chance to speak with Ricky Hatton's younger brother as he prepared to face the man he drew with over a year ago and you won't want to pass up this chance to learn more about one of Britain's premier welterweights.
"Magic" Matthew Hatton, 22-2-1 (8), only had a handful of amateur fights before turning pro as a nineteen year old in September of 2000. This is a marked departure from the sterling highly decorated early efforts of most upper echelon British fighters campaigning in the professional ranks and as such, Hatton had to do his learning in the ring. This accounted for a misstep against journeyman David Kirk in September 2002 but cuts stopped the Manchester lad against novice David Kier in February 2003.
After getting back on the horse and picking up three more wins in short order, Hatton brought a 17-2 record into his first meeting with Francis "The Rat" Jones in December of 2003. Jones was undefeated at 6-0-1 (1), having gotten past the same type of journeymen opponents as Hatton by largely outboxing them. Against Hatton he proved to be a sharp boxer who rattled numerous counters off the oncoming Mancunian and did enough in the judges eyes to secure a draw in the other fighter's hometown.
"The first fight was close and it was scored a draw," said Hatton. "I think it could have gone either way but it was probably the worst performance of my career to be honest. What was wrong with me that night I'm not too sure but I've improved massively since then and I think that Jones is going to find out that I'm a completely different fighter than the one that he boxed on that night."
The facts certainly bear out Matthew's assertion as the younger Hatton brother has been on a tear since the loss to Jones. Posting wins over Rob Burton gave him British Central Area belts at both welter and light middleweight but Hatton also defeated the tough trio of Matt Scriven, Lee Armstrong and Peter Dunn. The twenty four year old had to give up one of those titles and although it might sound on the outside to be a difficult choice, for Hatton it was a very clear cut decision. "I've since vacated the light middle title because I do see my future at welterweight," he said. "I don't consider myself a light middle. Even when I won the light middleweight title I weighed 10 stone 6 pound (146lbs) which is under the welterweight limit. I definitely see my future at welterweight and I think that's where the big fights are waiting for me."
Those big fights would ideally be against either the British champion David Barnes or the English titlist Michael Jennings, both Manchester area fighters and coincidentally friends with the Central Area beltholder. Despite the friendship, Matthew Hatton knows that boxing is a business as well as a sport and isn't about to shy away from such opportunities if they become available. "I don't think those fights are far away at all now," he said "I've got Friday's fight to sort out and I am expecting it to be another tough one against Jones. I am expecting to come through however and the big fights aren't far away at all now, I don't think. Get Friday out of the way and then whenever my promoter wants me to fight David or Michael, I'll be ready."
Boxingtalk.com would like to thank Matthew Hatton, Billy Graham and Richard Maynard for making this article possible.
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