Campbell Hatton wins professional debut at lightweight with convincing points victory over Jesus Ruiz
With proud father and former world champion Ricky watching on, and uncle Matthew in his corner as trainer, Campbell Hatton carried on the family legacy with a successful pro debut last weekend.
IN THE RED CORNER – CAMPBELL HATTON
It was a higher profile event than the average debut, with Matchroom giving the younger Hatton a prominent spot on the undercard of Alexander Povetkin v Dillian Whyte 2 at the Rumble on the Rock event in Gibraltar. The Hatton name attracted the expected attention, and pressure will follow Campbell throughout his early career despite his relatively barren amateur resume in comparison to his more celebrated family members.
The Hurricane was almost identical to his opponent in terms of height and weight, but carried a three inch reach advantage into this contest. There was a dose of nostalgia for fans of Ricky, as Campbell walked to the ring accompanied by the ‘Blue Moon’ theme song and decked out in the colors of his beloved Manchester City FC.
IN THE BLUE CORNER – JESUS RUIZ
Spaniard Ruiz entered this contest on short notice carrying an 0-10 record, despite not coming out on the winning end, Ruiz was building a reputation as a good test in the lightweight division for young prospects. After being stopped by Brandon Oertel on his pro debut, the 32-year old Cadiz based fighter had taken nine straight opponents the distance.
Hatton spent the opening minute of the fight searching for an opening behind an energetic left handed jab and throwing powerful body blows that were reminiscent of his father when in close. As the round progressed, a game Ruiz threw shots of his own, but Hatton evaded them with good head movement and continued to land scoring shots. As the round ended, with Ruiz on the ropes, referee Victor Loughlin ruled no knockdown as the Spaniard was wrestled to the ground.
After the successful opening round, Hatton was visibly breathing heavily in the corner as trainer Matthew told him to not get “over anxious” and advised the young Mancunian to pick his shots thoughtfully.
Ruiz started the second round by taking his space in the middle of the ring and landing a stiff jab before getting through with a right hand. Hatton responded with a vicious left to the body and the Spaniard spent the remainder of the round fighting on the back foot with blood running from his nose. Hatton pinned Ruiz in a corner and unleashed a barrage of body blows as the round ticked into the final minute.
Hatton continued to fight on the front foot and apply pressure while Ruiz swung back looking to land a significant blow and gain a foothold in a fight that was getting away from him at the halfway mark.
The momentum of Hatton could not be stopped in round three as he continued to land scoring blows, with an accumulation of left handed shots to the body starting to slow Ruiz. The Spanish fighter continued to throw punches back despite a cut opening up on his right eye. Ruiz would enter the last round knowing only a knockout would be good enough to claim a shock victory and ruin the debut of Eddie Hearn’s latest big name acquisition. After the round, Ruiz showed signs of distress in the corner as his cutman worked hard to stem the blood flow from his nose and eye.
Despite holding a lead on the scorecards, it was to be no cakewalk to victory for Hatton as both men continued to swing and land scoring blows throughout the opening two minutes of round four. In the final minute, Hatton ripped a left hand to the body that visibly hurt Ruiz and saw the Spaniard sucking for wind as the clock ticked down to the last seconds.
At the final bell, Ruiz showed respect to his opponent and received praise from former European welterweight champion Matthew for his brave performance. Campbell showed fatigue as he leaned back on the ropes, having received an eye opening welcome to the professional game in terms of the conditioning required.
There were no surprises when it came to the result, with referee Loughlin awarding Hatton a decisive 40-36 victory on the scorecards.
WHAT THEY SAID
Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, Campbell acknowledged the nerves he had experienced in a high profile debut, while also paying tribute to the toughness of his opponent. “I think as much as I tried not to, the nerves got to me a bit. It can only get better next time,” the Hurricane said. “I knew he’d be durable, but I was surprised just how durable he was.”
WHAT NEXT FOR THE WINNER
It will be a quick turnaround for Hatton and we can all expect another journeyman opponent as he continues to follow in the footsteps of his legendary father. Ricky hinted as much when talking to Sky Sports. “He’s only had a handful of amateur fights. He’s only been doing this a few years. It was a good learning fight,” said the former world champion.
There are likely many more lessons to learn for Campbell, but his last name will make him a closely scrutinized and high profile addition to any Matchroom undercard. Promoter Eddie Hearn stated his intention of booking Hatton on the upcoming May 1st undercard of Derrick Chisora v Joseph Parker but wanted fans not to get too carried away with the hot young prospect. “The journey’s gonna be great but it’s gonna take a long, long time,” said Hearn.
While not successful, Ruiz did show himself once more to be a durable opponent and will likely not have trouble finding a spot as an opponent trying to derail a young fighter in the early stages of his career.
WHAT NEXT FOR THE LOSER
With a career record of 0-11, Ruiz has entered journeyman territory but will have little trouble finding an opponent after showing the durability to go the distance in 10 straight fights. He likely does not possess the threat to scare top young prospects, but for a trainer and promoter looking to see their fighter get rounds in the bank, Ruiz is a good option.
Author’s Scorecard (round by round)
Hat – Rui