In the Ring – Third time for Hatton – By Billie Marshall

Perhaps more famously known for being the younger brother of world champion Ricky Hatton, Matthew has had a career of being in the shadow of his sibling.

But, at the third time of asking, has the chance to gain the respectability he deserves after an up and down career.

Currently ranked 38th in the world of the welterweight division and the current EBU European Welterweight champion, Hatton has a chance at world glory again when he faces Chris Van Heerden in Cape Town on March 2nd.

Matthew has always stressed his inspiration, and idol was his brother, Ricky.

He said; “I always looked up to my elder brother, Ricky, he went into boxing and then I followed suit.

From just the tender ages of six and nine, Ricky and Matthew were “always sparring upstairs while mum was downstairs or in the pub, with the pots rattling.”

Matthew Hatton does however regret leaving the amateur ranks at such a young age. In 2000, he decided to turn pro at the age of 19, with just 22 amateur fights under his belt. With Ricky already making a name for himself in the boxing world, Matthew was determined to get there just as quick.

Despite the hype surrounding his older brother, Matthew himself, was becoming a well-respected welterweight on the national scene.

With Ricky Hatton headlining fights at venues such as the MGM Grand, Matthew Hatton was impressing on the undercard.

Matthew kept himself quiet, while Ricky was attracting the headlines, Matthew was slowly but surely, climbing the rankings himself.

Wins over Edwin Vazquez and Ben Tackie at the Thomas and Mack centre and the MGM grand, on the undercard of Ricky’s fights, gave Matthew his first shot at a Welterweight world title.

Lovemore N’Dou, a veteran of over 60 fights was standing in the way of Hatton and worldwide recognition. The chance to step out of his brothers looming shadow, and be known as Matthew Hatton, and not the younger brother of Ricky.

However, the big stage produced a huge bit of controversy, when the contest was announced a draw, even though Matthew Hatton clearly felt otherwise.

He said: “I don’t care what Lovemore says. I won that fight. I thought I more than nicked it, I thought I won it by three or four rounds.”

Despite the original disappointment, Hatton responded by defeating Gianluca Branco for the vacant EBU European Welterweight title, and a successful defence against Yuriy Nuzhnenko allowed Hatton another chance at a world title shot, against up and coming Mexican star Saul Alvarez.

Matthew Hatton was again to be left disappointed as Alvarez won a unanimous decision in 2011, to all but condemn Matthew to the European stage. Despite the result Hatton said: “The Saul Alvarez performance is the stand out one in my career” and was proud to match a boxer who is widely tipped as the next boxing great.

Rumoured fights against Floyd Mayweather Jr and Zab Judah didn’t materialise, however in probably his last attempt at gaining a prestigious world title, and stepping out of the Hatton shadow with Chris Van Heerden standing in his way.

March 2nd will decide if it is third time lucky for 31 year old Matthew Hatton.

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