Hot young prospect Campbell ‘Hurricane’ Hatton turned in a calmer and better performance after a nervy debut to come away with a convincing victory on the scorecards over Levi ‘Chilli’ Dunn.
IN THE BLUE CORNER – CAMPBELL HATTON
Fighting in the Manchester Arena on the undercard of Derrick Chisora v Joseph Parker, Hatton would be following the famed footsteps of his father Ricky. The elder Hatton made history within the walls of the building with 13 victories at the venue, culminating in a historic stoppage of Kosta Tszyu to capture the IBF and Ring Magazine junior welterweight world titles.
Similar to his debut against Jesus Ruiz, Hatton carried a three inch reach advantage into this contest and would once again walk to the ring wearing the sky blue colors of his beloved Manchester City FC, a move that would not go down well with his opponent. Dunn was a loyal supporter of City’s arch rivals Manchester United, a fact that would be the subject of some good natured banter in the pre fight buildup.
IN THE RED CORNER – LEVI DUNN
A fighter to the core, Dunn was kicked out of Parrenthorn high school in year 10 for constantly fighting with fellow students. Despite racking up many wins in the schoolyard, Dunn carried an 0-4 professional record into this contest and had taken three straight opponents the distance after being stopped on his debut by Mark McKeown in the fourth round. Dunn had been knocked down by hot young prospect Umar Khan in his latest contest, but got back up to go the distance and lose on the scorecards.
A former sparring partner of Hatton, Dunn took this fight on two weeks’ notice but stated in the pre fight press conference his belief that he had improved significantly since the pair trained together.
Both men came out firing in the opening stages of the fight, Dunn regularly throwing a jab while Hatton unleashed with the left hooks to the body that were so reminiscent of his father. After one minute, the pair ended up in a clinch where Hatton landed several body blows from in close.
Hatton had the higher work rate throughout the round, landing crisp jabs and finding the mark with vicious body blows to take the first round on the scorecards.
Between rounds, a notably calm Matthew Hatton reassured his fighter, and advised him to drive a left hand onto the chest when Dunn adopted a softpaw stance and created an opening for it.
Hatton continued to eat jabs from Dunn, but remained on the front foot and had the higher output in the opening minute of round two, following a sharp left handed jab with a stinging right to the head.
Hatton landed another right to the face of Dunn as trainer Matthew could be heard from the corner advising him not to get too close and to do his work behind the jab. Hatton banked another 10-9 round, receiving some clean shots but throwing and landing more punches and connecting to the body with malice as the round progressed.
Dunn lost his footing early in the third round, but referee Steve Gray adjudged no knockdown before Hatton landed a blow with his opponent on one knee. Dunn landed a right hand that barely phased Hatton before the Hurricane showed his superior strength, wrestling Dunn into the turnbuckle from a clinch as referee Gray stepped in to separate the pair. Hatton then turned the screw in the second minute of the round, landing powerful blows to the body and head before Dunn burrowed forward and forced referee Gray to break them up once again.
A difference in class was beginning to show itself in the final minute of the round, as a game Dunn kept attacking only for Hatton to pick his shots and land a series of powerful lefts and rights. In the final seconds of the round, Dunn was stung by a whipping right hand from Hatton and would enter the fourth and final round needing a knockout to produce the upset win.
Despite Dunn needing a knockout, it was Hatton who was the busier and more aggressive fighter in the final round. Hatton worked behind a stinging left handed jab, consistently following it up with crashing right handed blows and twice backing Dunn onto the ropes. Dunn’s knee touched the ground in the final 30 seconds of the round, but again Gray ruled no knockdown and the fight continued with Dunn connecting a straight left to the jaw of Hatton. As the clock ticked down and the final bell rang, both fighters showed mutual respect with Hatton looking confident he had done enough to register a second straight win to open his career.
The result was confirmed with referee Gray scoring the fight 40-36 in favor of Hatton, to run his career record to 2-0 and continue the exciting journey of one of Matchroom’s most exciting prospects.
WHAT THEY SAID
In his post fight interview, a victorious Hatton stated his belief that this was a superior performance to his debut. “It was night and day (compared to the win over Ruiz). I went out there more relaxed, bit more composure and using my brain a lot more (sic).” Hatton also praised the durability of Dunn, “he’s a tough kid and he’s done the job he was here to do.”
Speaking about performing in such a prestigious venue in only his second career fight, Hatton said “I’m buzzing about doing it because my heroes have boxed here.”
WHAT NEXT FOR THE WINNER
Activity is the most important factor in these early stages of Hatton’s career, and when asked about receiving the call from Eddie Hearn the young fighter expressed his readiness. “I’ll be straight back in there, ready to go. It’s all learning and by being busy, I’ll be flying soon.”
WHAT NEXT FOR THE LOSER
Dunn was beaten once again, dropping his record to 0-5 but showed heart and ability that will make him a marketable commodity for promoters. In Khan and Hatton, Dunn has faced a high level of opposition early in his career and will be a live opponent for the next young prospect as he seeks his first career win.
Author’s scorecard (round by round)