Boxing

Matthew Hatton Defends European Welterweight Title With 3rd-Round Stoppage Of Roberto Belge - A Fight With Junior Witter Next?

By James Slater: Last night in Bolton, Matthew Hatton, the less famous brother of the hugely popular Ricky Hatton, scored an impressive-looking 3rd-round KO over the previously unbeaten Roberto Belge of Switzerland. “Magic,” making the first defence of his European title, got the job done with a peach of a left hand to the body. Belge went down, spat out his gum-shield and was counted out at one-minute and 32-seconds of the round.

Now 40-4-2(15) overall and 8-0-1 since the points loss to Craig Watson in 2008, the 29-year-old is on a real roll and he is almost certainly at his peak. 31-year-old Belge, all but an unknown before last night’s fight, is now 25-1-1(4).

Hatton, who said beforehand he wanted to prove and show that he is a world class fighter, certainly landed a classy shot to end the fight. But, as Sky commentator and former lightweight king Jim Watt said, things have to be kept in perspective. Hatton was expected to win last night and win he did. Belge had a go, but the Paulie Malignaggi look-alike had no punching power to speak of, and the right hands he did land had zero effect on Hatton. No doubt, “Magic” will face far sterner tests in the future; especially if he can land a world title shot, as brother/promoter Ricky alluded to.

One man who Hatton might fight next is former WBC 140-pound ruler Junior Witter. “The Hitter” was at ringside last night, and he spoke of what he thinks will happen if the fight comes off. Witter, who has been out with serious injury since his July 2009 loss to Devon Alexander, says he will “step up and take Hatton out, no doubt.”

“He’s European champion, and it’s a fight I would relish,” Witter said. “It would be a good fight. I’ll be back in either December, on the 18th on the Hopkins-Pascal bill, or in January, on the 8th, topping a bill.”

Witter was asked if he feels he has enough left to be able to defeat Matthew Hatton (for years Junior chased Ricky, only to fail to land the all-British clash), and he said that his main goal is to rule the world again.

“I’m going to be world champion again,” Witter said confidently.

But, can the veteran do as he has previously boasted and take Hatton out in quick fashion? Matthew looked good last night. He was sharp, accurate and he proved once more how he is a very good body puncher. We’ll have to wait and see how Witter looks in his comeback fight before we cast judgement, but Hatton-Witter could be a very interesting fight.

Article posted on 27.11.2010



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