Hamed hails Hatton

04.11.05 - Featherweight great Naseem Hamed has heaped praise upon newly-crowned IBF light-welterweight champion Ricky Hatton ahead of 'The Hitman's pending unification battle with WBA titleholder Carlos Maussa on November 26th. The eagerly-anticipated IBF/WBA title dual takes place in Hamed's hometown of Sheffield, and the Steel City showman can't wait to see Manchester's Hatton add another prestigious world title to the IBF version he won in June when dethroning Kostya Tszyu..

"Ricky Hatton is a great fighter," the former WBO, IBF and WBC featherweight king declared.

"In beating Kostya Tszyu he managed to achieve something I never did in my career. He beat a legend. An all-time great of his weight division.

"He was too strong, too determined, and I believe Hatton is good enough to now go on and match my 15 world title defences."

Throughout the course of Hamed's 10-year professional career, the big-punching featherweight was lauded as Britain's premier ring campaigner, and in the late nineties took his show to the United States amid much acclaim. Having experienced big nights at the MGM Grand and Madison Square Garden, Hamed is tipping Hatton to be Britain's next breakout star.

"I honestly think Ricky's win over Tszyu was one of the biggest wins by a British fighter ever," he admitted. "I give him massive credit for taking on a legend like Tszyu and stopping him.

"Previously he never had the opportunities to prove himself at the top level. Against Tszyu he had that opportunity and made the most of it.

"Now I believe he'll go and carry the torch for British boxing in the next few years."

Another unbeaten fighter set to appear on Fight Academy's show in Sheffield could do a similar job for his native Australia, Hamed insists. Sydney's 20-year-old super-featherweight talent Bilal Dibb has got 'The Prince' purring.

"This kid is the second coming of Naseem Hamed," Naz excitedly exclaimed.

"He's an awesome fighter. He's been watching lots of my videos, and has a tremendous amount of style, charisma and flair.

"I urge everyone to watch this kid because I have no doubts he can go all the way."

While the talented Dibb may be the heir to the Hamed throne, the original isn't quite done yet, he assures.

"I've been boxing since I was seven years of age," said the 31-year-old. "I simply needed a break.

"I've got two beautiful sons and a wife, and wanted to spend some time with them. Now, though, I've had my break. I miss boxing and I believe boxing misses me, too."

"In the New Year you could witness something special."

Tickets for 'The Unification' are available in person at the Hallam FM Arena or by calling the Hallam FM Arena box office on 0114 256 5656. Tickets are available at 50, 75, 100, 175 and 250.

Ringside tickets priced at 350, and Platinum Corporate Packages entitling guests to a ringside ticket, free food and drink inside our corporate tent are available at 500 and can be obtained by contacting Fight Academy on 0114 2560550.

Article posted on 04.11.2005

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