Friday, September 28, 2012
Ricky Hatton's return set for Nov. 24
By Dan Rafael
Former two-division titleholder Ricky Hatton, making a comeback 3½ years after he retired, is returning against former welterweight titlist Vyacheslav Senchenko, a far better grade of foe than many expected.
The scheduled 10-round welterweight fight will take place Nov. 24 at the Manchester Arena in Hatton's hometown of Manchester, England.
Hatton's comeback was announced earlier this month but Senchenko, 35, of Ukraine, was unveiled as his opponent at a Friday news conference.
"I can't wait to get in the ring now and I'm sure that Vyacheslav Senchenko will give me a good fight. It's one that I am confident I can win, though," said Hatton, who turns 34 next week.
Hatton (45-2, 32 KOs), the former junior welterweight world champion and a former welterweight titleholder, has not fought since Manny Pacquiao knocked him unconscious in the second round of a lineal junior welterweight title fight in Las Vegas in May 2009.
Hatton's only other defeat was a 10th-round knockout loss to Floyd Mayweather Jr., also in a welterweight title bout, in December 2007.
Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs) claimed a version of the 147-pound title in 2009 and made three successful defenses before he was stopped on a cut in the ninth round by Paulie Malignaggi in April in Ukraine.
Hatton stopped Malignaggi in the 11th round of a lineal junior welterweight championship fight in November 2008 in Las Vegas, one bout before Hatton got knocked out by Pacquiao.
"Senchenko lost the last time he fought to Paulie Malignaggi but he has got a good pedigree," Hatton said. "I'm in great shape, I'm feeling good and I know I can put on a performance for all those watching.
"I'm a boxer who loves boxing and loves to box. I'm driven by a hunger to box and look forward to getting back in the ring on the 24th."
Hatton also announced that the undercard will feature an all-British rematch between Scott Quigg (24-0-1, 17 KOs) and Rendell Munroe (24-2-1, 10 KOs) for an interim junior featherweight title. They met June 16 in Manchester for the vacant belt but the fight was ruled a technical draw in the third round when Munroe was unable to continue after suffering a bad cut above his right eye because of an accidental head butt.
Also on the card, Sergey Rabchenko (21-0, 16 KOs) of Belarus will make the first defense of the European junior middleweight title against Cedric Vitu (35-1, 15 KOs) of France; Gary Buckland (26-2, 8 KOs) of Wales will defend the British junior lightweight title against England's Stephen Foster Jr. (30-3-1, 18 KOs); and former middleweight title challenger Martin Murray (24-0-1, 10 KOs), who fought to a draw with then-titleholder Felix Sturm in November, will face an opponent to be determined.