07.05.04 - By Ben Carey: Supported by brother Ricky in his corner, a fired up Matthew Hatton produced an energetic and mature display of boxing to relieve local favourite Rob Burton of his Central Area welterweight title last night after ten brisk rounds of action at the sold out Barnsley Metrodome. In doing so the delighted 22-year-old collected the first of what he hopes will be many championships.
Hatton’s workrate and handspeed was too much for the 33-year-old Burton who never recovered after making a circumspect start. The Barnsley fighter’s southpaw stance was expected to give Hatton plenty of problems but the youngster wailed away to head and body before a bemused Burton could unleash his own arsenal. Rob did manage to pin Hatton in a corner and plant some solid hooks to the body during the third as Matthew elected to abandon his punch and get out tactics in favour of standing and trading.
One wondered if Hatton was about to be dragged into a toe-to-toe slugfest but he was back to his darting best in round 4. Seven or eight hooks in succession startled Burton but after a taking a moment to shrug off the effects he began to plod forward once more. A left hook bypassed Burton’s slack defence towards the end of the round that made the Yorkshireman briefly want to hold. There was little wonder that Rob’s face was starting to mark up.
After sleepwalking through the first four rounds Burton had to up his game and finally got down to business in round 5. Left and right hooks caught a stationary Hatton as he loitered within punching range for longer than he needed too. Burton had his man right where he wanted him now. Both boxers exchanged smiles at the bell as we entered a intriguing second half of the contest. Hatton had expanded a lot of energy in the first five rounds and there were growing concerns in his corner as Burton dominated round 6. A right hand from Rob landed cleanly which brought a roar from his supporters in appreciation that their man was very much back in this fight. Hatton attempted to fire back in two’s and three’s but most of his punches were landing on the gloves now.
Hatton heard the bell for the seventh for the first time in his career having previously campaigned at four and six round level. He showed no signs of tiring though and landed a peach of a right hand to re-establish his earlier superiority just when Burton was looking to take command. Hatton had easily won the round only to be controversially docked a point by referee Phil Edwards virtually on the bell for a transgression that was believed to be for holding. It was a let off for Burton but Hatton’s confidence remained unchecked and he bombed out where he’d left off in round 7 to sweep the eighth.
It was thought beforehand that the later rounds would belong to Burton with Hatton expected to tire in his first ten-rounder. However, in actual fact it was the local man who was beginning to blow with Hatton’s swarming attacks showing no signs of letting up. Burton needed at least a knockdown to readdress the balance in the final round but Hatton remained a bundle of energy to the very last and finished the fight raining in combinations upstairs and downstairs which prevented Burton from getting close. Phil Edwards’ 97-94 scorecard in Hatton’s favour looked about right and he can now go on to possibly contest the English welterweight title that is currently held by former British champion Chris Saunders.