Tszyu v Hatton: Destiny looms

01.06.05 - By Dan Frost: In only a matter of days now, what could be possibly the fight of the year is nearly upon us! in the early hours of Sunday June 5th, we will witness which will surely be one of the biggest fights that these shores have ever staged. The hugely popular Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton will take on which is arguably the toughest fight of his life, when he takes on the world No.1 and pound for pound king 'The Thunder From Down Under' Kostya Tszyu..

Like myself, I'm sure many of us have been following the career of Ricky Hatton since the 18 year old made his debut in 1997. Thanks to TV broadcaster Skysports and promoter Frank Warren, the young manchester slugger has benefited from fantastic coverage in the 8 years he turned pro. He's accumulated one of the biggest followings ever seen on these isles, or any other isles as a matter of fact.

The 26 year old Hatton is a ferocious body puncher and has one of the highest work rates ever seen in the ring. His swarming style and rib-crunching hooks to the body have secured a unblemished 38-0 (28KO's) record, along the way he has beaten some good quality opposition in the likes of Eamonn Magee, Joe Hutchinson, Freddie Pendleton, Vince Phillips, Ben Tackie, Mike Stewart and Ray Olivera.

Russian born Tszyu, who turns 36 in september, is widely regarded as the No.1 in the talented 140Ib division, and was a top amateur, winning many national titles for his hometown of Serov, Russia. He relocated to Sidney, Australia in 1992 where he started his professional career with trainer Johnny Lewis. His professional resume stands at 31-1 (25KO's). Possessing one of the biggest right hands in boxing today, he has fought in far better company and won his first title in only his 14th
professional fight. His sole loss as a pro has come in May 1997 at the hands of ex-cocaine addict Vince Phillips who he had totally underestimated going into the fight and was halted in the 10th round of this IBF world championship.

He has fought and beaten quality opponents along the way in the likes of Miguel Angel Gonzalez, Ismael Armando Chaves, Diosbelys Hurtado, Julio Cesar Chavez, Sharmba Mitchell, Oktay Urkal, Zab Judah, Ben Tackie and Jesse James Leija

Both have been taken the fight extremely seriously, especially Tszyu who is known for his extraordinary lengths of preparation for his fights, he knows the huge task he has ahead of him - and what a challenge! if fighting Hatton is not daunting enough, he will be doing it in front of 22,000 fans screaming who will be screaming the Hitman on. Hatton says he is not daunted by what is in front of him.

"Not the slightest," he said. "This is what I always wanted from day one. I'm not a flash Harry and don't make bold statements. I don't even make predictions. I believe that I am going to win. I've never been more confident in a fight."

Which obviously goes to show how confident a fighter Hatton is, who is also desperate need for recognition he feels he deserves, as alot of the criticism he has received is totally unjustified. Especially towards him ballooning up in weight during fights. If he was to win this and win it convincingly, not only would he be crowned world champion, he would be considered the undisputed world no.1 and new member of the elite pound for pound club.

So what sort of chance does Ricky have of dethroning the long reigning and powerful champion? Answer is, a good one! Tszyu is entering the veteran stage of his career, he's had 2 career threatening injuries which kept him out of action for nearly 2 years. In that time he has only boxed 9 rounds, where as Ricky has boxed 33. Not that this might be a good indication of how the fight might go for Ricky. Tszyu entered the Sharma Mitchell fight only having fought 6 rounds for 18 months in November last year, many experts predicted Mitchell to end Tszyu's long reign as undisputed champion.

How wrong they were! Tszyu annihilated the world No.2 within 3 one-sided rounds, sending him to the canvas 4 times in the process. Afterwards he quoted "With Sharmba it was unfinished business. He deserved every punch and it was very satisfactory giving them to him"

Hatton will come out from the 1st starting fast and trying to outwork the older champion from the inside, but Tszyu has fought many styles over the years and it wont take to long for him to solve the Hitman's marauding style. Kostya prefers to fight with boxers who bring the fight to him, that's where he's more efficient - as Mitchell painfully found out last November.

That's where Tszyu has the upper hand, Hatton's style is tailor made for him, If Ricky can somehow keep out of harms way avoiding Tszyu's big right, maybe by fighting a little more from range than from the inside as he did with Tackie the fight can go into the later stages and he's then got a great chance of securing the crown. But that's a big if with someone with Kostya's class.

One thing's for certain! the atmosphere is going to be electric within the M.E.N and is definitely going to be something special to attend, many people don't give Ricky much of a chance, but then this sport can be unpredictable as it can be exciting.

And no one more than Ricky deserves this chance at greatness.

Article posted on 01.06.2005

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