MATTHEW HATTON is determined to get back on the world title trail – and that’s his avowed intention when he takes on Belarusian Andre Abramenka at Blackpool Tower Circus on August 19.
The IBF International welterweight belt will be at stake – but Hatton has loftier ambitions as he returns to the ring after his punishing loss to Mexican Saul Alvarez when he fell short in his world title challenge.
Hatton, the younger brother of former World Champion boxer Ricky Hatton, has earned plenty of admirers for his valiant, vain effort, but stepping up to light-middleweight against a class act in Alvares was a step too far.
Now Hatton wants to try again for a world crown at a more natural poundage.
Looking ahead to the meeting with the unbeaten Abramenka in Blackpool, he said: “With the Alvares fight I was offered the chance to fight for the world title, but it came at light-middleweight, which I had never campaigned at before.
“Even though I gave it everything I had, I bit off a little bit more than I could chew. I performed well and came out of the fight with some credit.
“But ever since then, I have been itching to get back into the ring and get back to winning ways.
“It is going to be a good test for me – the frustrations of the last few months of coming off this defeat have been there and I am going to take it out on Abramenka, unfortunately for him.”
Reflecting on the Alvarez loss, Hatton said: “He never hurt me in the fight – they kept moving the goal-posts.
“Originally, they agreed to fight at welterweight – then they moved the fight to 10st 10lb, which I agreed to, but on the night he was nine pounds heavier than I was.
“You can give that weight away to some boxers – but you can’t do it to that calibre of opponent.
“I was in the fight in every round – there wasn’t that much in every round.
“But he was just so big and too strong at the weight, and nothing I did seemed to make an impression on him.
“Now I am moving back to my natural weight, which is welterweight, and even if I had won against Alvarez, I would still have come back down to welter, which is my best weight. If I beat Abramenka, there is the prospect of another world title fight before the end of the year, so there couldn’t be a bigger incentive to win this one.”
Hatton gave up the European belt to take the Alvares bout, and he could still box for that in future.
He gave up the crown as European champion while still unbeaten and is still the mandatory challenger should he decide to take that route.
Hatton said: “If a world title can’t be made for me, that is the obvious one to go for next.”
Though Hatton expects to win against Abramenka, he respects his opponent. “I have seen one of his fights on DVD; he looks a strong guy and likes to come forward and it will make for an entertaining fight.
“I don’t know too much about him, but being an unbeaten fighter he will come into the ring with confidence, so it will be my job to knock it out of him straightaway and I am sure I will do.”
There has been a suggestion that Hatton could one day take on Amir Khan, should the Bolton boxer switch his sights to a campaign in the welterweight ranks. And it is something that appeals to Hatton.
“There is talk of Khan coming up to welterweight, and if I am holding one of the world titles at welterweight, it would be an obvious fight to make.
“Khan is a fantastic fighter, one of the best pound-for-pound fighters out there.
“Afer fighting Alvares, I am not afraid to fight anyone and I would love to fight Amir Khan. It would be a dream fight for me, certainly a big fight for England.”
Hatton is a self-confessed fan of Blackpool as a holiday resort.
He said: “It is one of my favourite towns – I have been coming here for years with my family and I still come.
“I have a lot of friends here and I bring my little boy down to the Pleasure Beach, and it’s a fantastic town.
“It will be a different experience coming here to fight and I am looking forward to it.”