Ibrahim Harb – Birmingham
Having disposed of fellow Briton Matthew Hatton last weekend, undefeated 25-year-old Kell Brook (27-0-0, 18ko) has received an international call out as Oklahoman Carson Jones, 25, has declared his eagerness in knocking Special K down a peg as he believes “Brook thinks he’s more than what he is”. In order to best negotiate a fight, Jones indicated he would box Kell in England, where the Sheffield star recently attracted 10,000 at the gate.
“Kell Brook thinks he’s more than what he is at this point,” said Jones (33-8-2, 23ko), who is the current USBA welterweight title holder and has an upcoming defence set against Allen Conyers in Tulsa on April 26.
“He’s calling out Amir Khan but hasn’t earned the right to do so. Beating Matthew Hatton doesn’t give him that luxury and we all saw what Saul Alvarez did to Hatton,” Kid Carson, who has faced Said Ouali (won by way of retirement), Michael Clark (triumphed by second round TKO), Jason LeHoullier (ninth round teekayo win) and Jesus Soto Karass (lost a decision).
He continued: “Brook is decent but I’ve beaten better fighters and I’d gladly go to England to fight him!”
Bobby Dobbs, who manages Carson, added: “Carson Jones is willing to do whatever it takes to become champion. He has fought all comers since day one and if he has to go to England to knockout Kell Brook, then that is what we will do!”
Alan Dawson – London
Kell Brook extended his undefeated record in front of his own fans at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield as the 25-year-old boxed in a manner that – like it did throughout 2011 – lived up to his Special K moniker, not allowing opponent Matthew Hatton any say in the contest, knocking his Mancunian rival down in the ninth and out-boxing Hatton throughout the entire 12 rounds on Saturday, March 17.
Official verdict: Brook by way of unanimous decision.
Occupying the centre of the ring, Brook boxed tentatively while Hatton got his jab going, unleashed two-punch flurries and fought in circles. Midway through the opening stanza, however, Brook began to take the initiative and, instead of blocking Brook’s lead punches with his high guard, he attempted to catch the shots which allowed Brook to punch through Hatton’s gloves… a worrying flaw for a fighter normally known for his defensive expertise.
In round two, Brook further aggravated Hatton’s bloody nose with big-time overhand rights. A thinking man’s fighter, Brook waited for his openings, punched with accuracy and denied Hatton passage to a clean shot himself. There was little magic cast by Matthew in round three as he was unable to pull the trigger. Brook stalked Hatton, set the pace and restricted his opponent to the outer circle of the ring, who only managed to land one meaningful punch for the entire stanza – a right hand over the top.
When Special K made his ring walk, he was accompanied by former world champion Junior Witter, an alumnus of the Wincobank gym where Kell is trained by Dominic Ingle and, like Witter, Brook was able to switch between orthodox and southpaw to further confuse Hatton.
In the fifth, Hatton began to unload… he double-jabbed, and let go of the right hand, roughing Brook up on the inside, he clinched and landed uppercuts. A master of range, Brook, though, was able to sneak back into the distance Hatton would not be able to find flesh from, before stepping back in to pump straight rights into the away fighter’s nose.
Through the middle rounds there was little Hatton could do to prevent Brook finding the side of his jaw with left hooks, his temple with looping left hands, his chin with right uppercuts and the bridge of his nose with orthodox jabs. When Hatton refused to allow Brook dictate the distance the fight was fought at, he scored well, particularly when he sent close-range shots into Brook’s ribs from the inside and boxed his way out of clinches.
Brook upped the power in round nine and made a strong statement by canvassing Hatton with a counter punch from the left. Brook fist-bumped the air, celebrating the knockdown in a scene British fight fans were not used to as Hatton had gone 12 rounds with super welterweight Saul Alvarez whilst remaining turgid. The punch, though, was testament to Brook’s timing and his ability to knock any opponent off-balance.
The image of each fighter prior to the commencement of combat in the 11th told the story of the fight… Hatton’s nose was stained in blood and he was breathing heavy out of his mouth. Brook, in contrast, was composed, breathing through his nose and looked calm and relaxed.
A wild ruckus broke out in the 12th as Hatton attempted hail Mary punches that had little effect against the defensively-intuitive Brook, while Kell, too, sought to load up on power and gain a second knockdown. That never arrived, but with the completion of the 12-rounder, a comfortable distance victory did. Brook out-landed Hatton by an astonishing 3:1 ratio, extended his career record to 27-0-0, 18ko and shone in front of 10,000 fans in Yorkshire.
On The Beak – Admin
Britain’s two top welterweight pugilists fight for domestic supremacy in a high-profile clash dubbed War of the Roses on Saturday, March 17 as stylish Sheffield boxer-puncher Kell Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) puts his undefeated record on the line against defensively-savvy Matthew Hatton (46-5-2, 16ko) at the Motorpoint Arena, an arena in his hometown that is expected to entertain over 10,000 fans come fight night. Below, they can be seen preparing for battle…
(Videos embedded above and below credit – YouTube, MatchroomBoxing)
On The Beak – Admin
Carl Frampton will make the second defence of his Commonwealth super bantamweight title as the chief-support bout on the undercard of Kell Brook versus Matthew Hatton at the Motorpoint Arena, Sheffield on March 17. Frampton delivered a punch-perfect performance in his first defence on Saturday, January 28 with a stunning seventh round knockout of Kris Hughes at York Hall, Bethnal Green.
Barry McGuigan’s protégé moved to 12-0 as a pro in front of a sold-out east London crowd and the 24 year-old will fight in front of the biggest crowd of his career so far on March 17 before Brook and Hatton meet in their blockbusting welterweight clash.
“It’s a wonderful bill for Carl to be fighting on,” said McGuigan. “The arena will be full of proper discerning boxing fans who will be eager to see Carl in the flesh. We are anxious to keep him busy this year to solidify his position as the most exciting super bantamweight in Britain and he is chomping at the bit to be involved in this massive night for British boxing.”
Also on the undercard, former British welterweight champ Lee Purdy will hope to get back on track against Nottingham’s Adnan Amar. Purdy claimed the British strap with a fine fifth round stoppage win over Craig Watson at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester in April and then repeated that feat in a rematch in Watson’s backyard of Oldham three months later. He faced Colin Lynes in his second defence at York Hall in November with a chance to claim the Lonsdale belt for keeps, but Lynes tore up the form book to take the belt on points.
John Ryder steps into double figures as a pro on the night, taking on Alistair Warren in an eight-round middleweight clash. Ryder, 23, picked up his sixth win inside the distance on the Frampton-Hughes undercard with a second round stoppage of Mariusz Biskupski taking his unbeaten run to 9-0. Standing in the way of the Islington man’s perfect ten is Huddersfield’s Alistair Warren (8-1-1), the 24 year-old who fought for the WBC super middleweight youth title in November 2010, losing to Hugo Kasperski.
Amateur star Scott Cardle makes his professional debut at lightweight on the night, while unbeaten Dudley middleweight Ryan Aston faces Barnsley’s Lee Noble and Sheffield Heavyweight David Howe also features.
Alan Dawson – London
In order to prepare for his March 17, all-English test against domestic welterweight rival Matthew Hatton, 30, undefeated 25-year-old Kell Brook – a product of the renowned St Thomas Boys & Girls Club, a converted church also known as the Ingle Gym – has endured a winter’s break in the sunny clime of Fuerteventura, a Spanish island off the coast of Africa. Furthermore, the Sheffield star has warned Hatton he’s in for a beating and a bashing.
“Spain was great, we trained three times a day, running on the beach was tough but great for the fitness,” said Brook of his recent working trip on the Canary Island that sees an average January temperature of 17.5°C ((63.5F).
Famous for it’s mountainous peaks and rugged coastline, Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) described Fuerteventura as a “nice change of scenery”.
He continued: “There was about nine of us from the gym and a few Spanish boxers there too – we had a good laugh but got down to some good work too.”
The St Thomas Club is a sporting institution in the Wincobank area of England’s Steel City of Sheffield. Inside the walls of the converted building are messages and posters aimed to inspire the children that pass through the doors to become a graduate in the sweet science, avoiding street temptations such as smoking, drinking and drugs.
Brook is the latest in a long line of prizefighters schooled by Brendon Ingle and son Dominic that were British born but world renowned as Special K follows the footsteps of Prince Naseem, Johnny Nelson, Herol Graham and close mate Ryan Rhodes. Since swapping promotional figureheads Frank Warren of Sports Network to Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports, Brook has gone 3-0-0, 2ko having out-pointed Lovemore N’Dou in one-sided combat prior to teekayoing Rafal Jackiewicz and Luis Galarza, his debut on American canvas.
A cerebral pugilist who punches with precision, Brook now takes on Hatton in what is aimed to be one last interest-generating domestic/European-level bout before a world title tilt. Brook said: “I’m back in the Wincobank now but I was training over Christmas anyway as Eddie Hearn told me there was something big coming in March so I didn’t want to switch off at all.
“I’m stepping it up now and we’re going to be really hitting it hard in the next week or so but I already feel great so there are no worries there.”
The mind-games have already begun. Over the festive period, Hatton (42-5-2, 16ko) gave Brook a drunken phone-call informing him he was going to taste defeat come March at the Motorpoint Arena in Brook’s home-town; Sheffield. Then, he also told the media that Brook – who is due to be a father in February – will struggle to train, be a parent and a good boyfriend to his partner Lindsay.
“Everyone is different – we’ve got things worked out and it’s really not going to be interrupting our training,” explained Brook. “We’ve got our heads around how it’s going to work and we’ve got a lot of people around us to help too so it’s not a worry – I’m just really excited about it.
“He can’t get into my head with that sort of stuff and on March 17 I’m going to be all over him. Dominic Ingle has already got me working on plans for Matt and I know my game plan on the night will be spot on to beat him and bash him up.”
For tickets to the fast-selling event, call Sheffield Box Office on 0114 256 5656 or click here. VIP tickets are sold out, but tiered (£30/40), tiered/floor (£60) and ringside (£100) are available.
On The Beak – Admin
Manchester man Matthew Hatton has implied that Kell Brook’s preparation may suffer in the build-up to their fight and has warned the Sheffield man that becoming a father for the first time will hurt his quest to win the battle of Britain’s best welterweights. Hatton and Brook clash at the Motorpoint Arena on March 17 in a bout that is broadcast on Sky Sports and the spotlight will be on the unbeaten Brook in his biggest headline show to date.
Hatton believes that the pressure to perform coupled with becoming a Dad for the first time could be too much for the 25-year-old. Both men are due to have baby girls in the build-up to the fight – with Kell’s partner Lindsey due in mid February and Hatton’s partner Jenna early March. But, while Hatton has already experienced training for a fight while become a father, he believes Kell’s plans could be thrown into chaos as he enters parenthood.
“Jenna and I have gone through it all before so there will be nothing new there for us,” said Hatton (42-5-2, 16ko).
“But for Kell it’s a new experience becoming a father for the first time. It’s absolutely amazing of course, but it’s a real shock and it takes some getting used to. It can be a really difficult period and it’s hard to stay focussed on the training. But sometimes in life there are more important things than boxing and being a father is one of them. When you bring kids into the world you have to provide for them so it’s a motivation for the training and the fight as you are doing it for their future.”
Jenna is due to give birth to a baby girl on March 4, just 13 days before he meets Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) in the huge domestic 147lb clash. Hatton has been in this situation before when Jenna was carrying their son Jack as he was preparing to face Craig Watson for the Commonwealth title in Manchester in 2008: “It wasn’t a great performance against Craig,” admitted Hatton. “Jack was about three months old then so it was a difficult time and it definitely affected my performance – and it will have an effect on Kell.”
He continued: “Our baby girl is due on March 4, but Jack was two weeks late. If she goes two weeks over with the new baby it’ll be the day after the fight, so she’s sweating a bit. Jenna’s a massive support for my career and she represented Great Britain and England in a number of swimming events so, as an athlete herself, Jenna knows the dedication involved and the pressures you are under ahead of competing. She was never a boxing fan before we met but she loves her boxing now and she’s more keen on Saturday Fight Night than me to be honest!”
Jenna has left her part-time job as a learning mentor for kids in Salford to go on maternity leave, and as she gets close to her due date, Hatton said he may be tempted to include her into to his preparation.
“She’s quite big now, I think she’s up to about Cruiserweight so we’ve been having a laugh about that around the house!” quipped Hatton. “I’m into camp now, roadwork is underway and I start sparring next week so I had a good Christmas but it’s great being back in the gym and we’re just going to start upping it and upping it as the weeks go on, but the start has been fantastic.”
Over 5,000 tickets were sold in just three days worth of sales, VIP tickets are already sold out, but £30 (tiered), £40 (tiered), £60 (tiered/floor) and £100 (ringside) are available from the Motorpoint Arena Sheffield Box Office on 0114 256 5656 or here.
Related article: Khan: I used to slap Brook around the ring in sparring
Alan Dawson – London
The Yorkshire v Lancashire rivalry is a hot one in English sport. Despite a gulf in class, Leeds United and Manchester United retain a severe grudge when they are pitted against the other, the Roses match between Yorkshire CCC and Lancashire CCC is a must-see in cricket and this also transcends other games like rugby and even between university students. Now, on March 17, at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, Kell Brook and Matthew Hatton will combat a War of the Roses in boxing as the welterweight duo aim to decide whom can lay claim to be the best in Britain.
“This fight has been a long time coming but I am just so pleased that we’re going to get it on,” said Brook (26-0-0, 18ko) when the fight was confirmed this week. “I want to prove that I’m the number one welterweight in Britain. Matthew is a proven fighter and as tough as they come and the Hatton’s have done so much for boxing.
“But this feels like my big night and it’s a dream come true to be headlining the Motorpoint Arena… I remember watching Johnny Nelson and Ryan Rhodes fighting in The Full Monty back in 1997, and now it’s my turn to be the big draw – I can’t wait.”
The Brook v Hatton bout has polarised boxing fans already. Under former promoter Frank Warren, Brook felt the wrath of detractors who stated that, because of how highly he was heralded, he was being matched too softly. The 25-year-old pugilist, dubbed Special K, signed for a new promotional agency last year – Matchroom Sports – and, under head of boxing Eddie Hearn, Brook has fought Lovemore N’Dou (won by way of decision), Rafal Jackiewicz (won by way of stoppage) and Luis Galarza (stoppage).
Hearn had made numerous declarations that, should Brook oversee Galarza in what was his debut on American soil, then he would secure his 147lb ward a world title shot or, failing that, a big-name fight at the start of 2012.
Hatton (42-5-2, 16ko) is a solid and durable European-level prizefighter who has a penchant for defensive blocks but a world title holder and/or a draw at the gate he is not. The achievements and pedigree of Ricky’s younger brother is not a step-up from the trident of fighters Brook has already boxed whilst campaigning under the Matchroom banner, however, the decision to fight Hatton now could be one that takes into account future planning.
Brook and Hearn want Britain’s most recent unified world title holder – Amir Khan, who lost his WBA/IBF super lightweight championship belts to Lamont Peterson last month, when Khan makes the inevitable trip up to welter in the coming months/year.
Khan and his handlers, though, are loathe to do business with Matchroom Sports and Hearn again following the Sky Sports Box Office/Primetime fallout from Khan and another of Hearn’s fighters, Paul McCloskey, last year (Khan prevailed by way of technical decision). Instead, there were rumours that Khan would seek out Hatton for a homecoming welterweight bash but should Brook resoundingly beat-up Magic Matthew then this option for Khan would carry no practical value. Brook would be the only real British option.
Hatton, though, does not plan on making the one hour trip to Sheffield just to make up the numbers and make Brook look good: “I always knew that Kell and I would fight,” he said, before adding: “I’ve got nothing but respect for Kell and there’s no doubt that he’s a real talent but I am peaking at the right time and we’ll see just how talented he is on fight night.”
His trainer, Bob Shannon, concurs with Hatton’s statements, but added that the gameplan set by the respective fighters’ cornermen will be what separates them when the winner’s arm is held aloft: “Matthew will be in great shape on March 17 and this is a fight that will be won by who gets their tactics right. I know Kell well and I will live and breathe Kell Brook from now until fight night. He is a proper talent but this is a real test how talented he is.”
Hearn commented: “This is the sort of fight that I love to be involved in – a classic British battle between two great fighters. I fully expect this to catch the imagination of fight fans and the general public and really be something very big when we get to fight night.”
Perhaps in an acknowledgment that there would be questions as to why Brook is boxing Hatton for two minor belts (WBA Intercontinental welterweight title and IBF International welterweight title) and not fighting for a full world championship, Hearn said: “We talked to world champions for Kell but nothing that was put on the table excited me as much as this fight.”
While a match-up between Brook and Hatton would be a thinking man’s fight between a precise puncher with good movement (Kell) and a comparatively light puncher who is resilient, accustomed to hearing the final bell and has mastered an assortment of defensive postures (Hatton), a barnstorming British belter could be underway as the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC) have ordered a rematch between heavy hitters George Groves (14-0-0, 11ko) and Kenny Anderson.
Groves passed a gut check in his first fight with Anderson (15-1-0, 11ko) as he rose from the canvas to knockout the tough Scot in November, 2010. Since, the 29-year-old has successfully maneuvered himself into a mandatory position in order to challenge Groves for the British championship at super middleweight: “Kenny Anderson has been made mandatory to face George Groves next,” BBBoC secretary Robert Smith has confirmed.
An elated Anderson, speaking via the Daily Record, said: “It’s good the Board have given me the chance. I was pushing for it so I am delighted with the news and now I can talk about what I am going to do. I have finished off my last two opponents and feel I’m improving in every one of my fights.
“I deserve this– I’m glad I’ve been given the chance to show people I’m here again.”
Groves’ representative, Frank Warren of Sports Network, won the purse bids earlier today, Wednesday and therefore holds the right to stage the fight – most likely in Groves’ resident city; London.
Alan Dawson – London
Once a media darling of the British boxing press, an elite operator who retired recent International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee Kostya Tszyu and a pressure-fighting badass who never shirked away from the challenge, Ricky Hatton now focuses his energy on Hatton Promotions and leaves it up to brother Matthew to fight under the family name. Unlike Ricky, though, Matthew’s style is based more on technique and defensive acumen than it is on searching for the stoppage win.
Famed for taking his fights to the inside and for possessing a destructive body-punch, Hatton (45-2-0, 32ko) scalped numerous top-ranked prizefighters including Tszyu (11rd RTD), Carlos Maussa (9rd KO), Luis Collazo (UD), Juan Urango (UD), Jose Luis Castillo (4rd KO) and Paulie Malignaggi (11rd TKO).
Against Tszyu, a four-time super lightweight champion who had slain Mexican great Julio Cesar Chavez Sr, Hatton fought with more aggression, hunger, determination and was faster than the then 35-year-old. It was Hatton’s peak… he was well conditioned, his heart never wavered and was the win that propelled him into the boxing limelight.
Aside from a knockdown at the beginning of the contest, the Collazo victory was one Hatton laboured to get the win in. He was a tricky opponent and “The Hitman” struggled to negate Collazo’s portside posturing and his shots all too often missed their target as he lacked the pop that had, to that point, been largely synonymous with his career.
Fight scribes retrospectively view the Hatton and Collazo match-up a triumph for the latter, yet Hatton’s overall work-rate was highlighted with the punch statistics as he out-landed the slick American by 350 to 300, approximately. While he enjoyed the greater share of the punches landed, it was Collazo’s shots that were crisper, heavier and therefore more effective, rendering the decision one that is still open for debate.
The Urango scrap was Ricky’s Las Vegas debut. He dominated the scorecards, winning all but one of the twelve rounds in a distance fight, however, Urango made Hatton work. The popular Mancunian’s foot skills were on display in the opening stanzas as he pivoted in and out of the pocket and showed a good discipline. By the mid-fight rounds he had begun peppering Urango with combination punching, yet his overall defence proved leaky as Urango caught him with left hands and grew into each round the longer it lasted. By the championship rounds, Hatton was reduced to spoiling.
Hatton produced his true Vegas performance against Castillo… he promised fireworks pre-fight and in the ring he set them off. Despite the wear-and-tear suffered by Castillo from dust-ups with big-time players like Diego Corrales, Castillo still had a lot to give but Hatton took that all away in front of 10,000 raucous Brits who gesticulated wildly when Hatton landed his thunderous left to Castillo’s body – the Mexican remained on a knee long after the count had been completed. Ricky would later claim that this was because he broke four of Castillo’s ribs with that solitary shot to the breadbasket.
While Ricky and Matthew Hatton are of the same blood, they are cut from different cloth as Matthew has honed in more on the defensive side of the game. Matthew (42-5-2, 16ko) is a fine boxer when it comes to domestic level – he is, alongside Kell Brook, – rated as the best 10 stones 7 (147lbs) fighter within Blighty and, even at European level, he could be a good match for fighters such as Rafal Jackiewicz, Selcuk Aydin and/or Viacheslav Senchenko, however, when he stepped it up to the world level, he was considerably outclassed.
Like older brother Ricky, though, he did not shy away from the challenge. Ricky’s only two defeats on his resume were to two of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters of the current millennium – Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao – and Matthew’s loss to Saul Alvarez could end up being of a similar nature.
Alvarez is a natural 11 stones (154lbs) fighter, a beast… and Hatton gave away a considerable size advantage to Saul. He lasted the distance, won the jabbing contest but was completely blasted away by Alvarez’s power-punching while his own shots appeared ‘pitty-patty’ in comparison – something that is not an isolated incident when looking at his knockout percentage (32).
It was in his most recent fight – his ‘comeback’ after the near boxing lesson he was taught in Anaheim’s Honda Center in California in March – where Matthew Hatton showed off his defensive adaptability. Against Andrei Abramenka last weekend, on Friday, August 19, Hatton faced a 24-year-old Belarusian who was eager to protect his undefeated status yet he won every round on my scorecard to win a minor title with the IBF.
Matthew’s versatility with his guard is what was most impressive from the Abramenka victory as a stiff upright guard in which he blocked or parried shots with his forearms or gloves, changed to a Philly Shell, depending on how Abramenka was attacking him. Considering this technical nous, together with his ability to keep his face relatively clean despite receiving a mauling (versus Canelo), then a shot at another world championship – this time in his natural weight class – may contain an alternative outcome depending on which sanctioning body (and therefore champion) he elects to go for.
Hatton the younger, though, could virtually guarantee a world title scoop if he had been blessed with his older brother’s attacking prowess, however, unfortunately for Matthew this has long been his major limitation.
Alan Dawson – London
Matthew Hatton bounced back from an unsuccessful world title challenge earlier in the year to claim the lightly-regarded IBF International welterweight championship as he dominated Andrei Abramanka in every round. The Eastern European did not have the power or strength to discourage Hatton from his evening’s work and, despite the one-sided nature of the scorecards, Hatton rarely seemed to leave second gear at the Tower Circus in Blackpool, Lancashire on Friday, August 19.
Judges verdict: 118-110, 118-109, 118-109 all in favour Matthew Hatton.
Former European welterweight champion, Matthew Hatton, relinquished the EBU title in order to challenge popular Mexican prizefighter Saul Alvarez for the then-vacant WBC super welterweight world championship in March, however, the younger boxing brother of Ricky Hatton returned to Blighty defeated by decision.
The weekend dust-up with Andrei Abramenka represented the first time Matthew had returned to the ring since his foray at world level and, walking out to Ready Or Not by The Fugees, the 30-year-old looked focused, determined and undeterred by the attractive ring-girls clad in transparent carnival clobber who greeted him on his way to the ring.
Hatton kept Abramenka at arm’s length throughout the opening stanza. There was little offensive game enforced by Abramenka and Hatton, remaining on the outside, stuck jabs on his opponent with an occasional hook shot to boot. Abramenka, from Belarus, enjoyed only sporadic moments of success and looked good went he went after Hatton’s body.
Abramenka was more sprightly in the second round and used foot movement to evade Hatton’s incoming shots. In order to negate Abramenka’s foot skills, Hatton cut the ring off and attempted to force the undefeated 24-year-old into the corners. Abramenka’s hook shots looked handy, however, Hatton showed astute head movement to veer away from his opposite man’s fist.
While Abramenka was by no means a push-over, Hatton’s ability to control the tempo and make it his fight ensured he deserved the successive ten scores and, in the third round, that pace was upped as Hatton increased his punch output and varied his target from Abramenka’s body to his head. Hatton’s defence, too, was strong as he either motioned away from incoming punches or parried them away with his gloves or forearms. Midway through the third, Hatton punished Abramenka with a solid body blow. A left hook forced Abramenka away from the inside toward the end of the round.
Still a relative novice, Abramenka had – prior to fight night – only once fought in a 12-round contest before and between rounds three and four the Belarusian was seen breathing heavily; an indication that Hatton’s bodywork had already taken it’s toll. Abramenka’s between round wheezing had obviously been picked up on by Hatton’s corner as he attacked either side of Abramenka’s breadbasket in round four. Hatton also clipped the younger man with hooks and close-range uppercuts.
Round five was again all Hatton and, when Abramenka did decide to let his fists go, he was too cautious and so there was little meaning behind his shots. Hatton was clearly the bigger welterweight and the stronger man and, with each round, broke Abramenka down piece by piece.
A cut opened up above the left eye of Hatton in the sixth round and Abramenka, spurred on by the sight of blood, began peppering the wound with right hands. Any confidence Abramenka gained from opening up a gash on the Englishman would have been short-lived as “Magic” Matthew stuck a five-punch combination onto the head of the Abramenka.
Hatton’s jabbing contained more authority in the seventh but Abramenka continued in his attempt to aggravate Hatton’s cut further by forcing overhand rights onto his brow. In between rounds, Hatton’s cornermen will have worked on the cut with one part Epinephrine (adrenaline) diluted with 1000 parts water: when applied with pressure, this decreases blood flow.
Hatton got vengeance for his own cut by inflicting a mild laceration over the left eye of Abramenka, which the referee ruled as a punch, rather than a butt. By the ninth round, Hatton’s variety of defence was again on show as he positioned his arms into a Philly-Shell in order to thwart any Abramenka onslaught. A head-bound flurry from Hatton in the second minute of the stanza was finished off with a power punch to the midsection.
The technical skill Hatton could call upon was impressive as he flurried at Abramenka again in the tenth. In contrast, Abramenka rarely put more than one punch together. The referee deducted a point from Hatton’s tally due to lowblowing – it was his second warning. Hatton pushed Abramenka onto the outside, circling the periphery of the ring due to his aggression, which had increased with every passing round. By the round’s end, Abramenka was truly on his bike, avoiding Hatton at all costs.
In the eleventh, Hatton caught Abramenka’s punches with his gloves while his own attack caused Abramenka’s eye to look more lairy than it had done previously. Such was the worsening of the eye, by the time Abramenka’s cutman was working it over, the ring towel was transformed from a Persil white to blood red. Abramenka had lagged throughout the contest and required an unlikely knockout to claim the win but in the final round there was no real intent behind Abramenka’s punches. Hatton finished the round – and fight – strongly with a overhand right and left hook combo.
The win and performance was good from Hatton but the victim had little name value, especially after having shared a ring with a beast like Alvarez. There are potentially-lucrative domestic showdowns for Hatton, should he elect to box undefeated Sheffield sensation Kell Brook or current British champion Lee Purdy, however, with the minor IBF trinket wrapped around his waist, Hatton may see that as a backwards step now that he will have climbed the global ranks on the IBF charts. A potential second shot at a major title, this time in his natural weight class, could therefore be on the 30-year-old’s radar.
Alan Dawson – London
British Central Area cruiserweight champion Matty Askin took on experienced and crafty Argentinean spoiler Juan Manuel Garay at the Tower Circus in Blackpool, Lancashire on Friday, August 19 and displayed a patient and productive boxing method to score a technical knockout in the fourth round. Askin, an undefeated English prospect, flattened Garay with a jab, uppercut and a hook shot. The fallen 39-year-old found his feet but the referee waved the contest off, preventing the veteran from taking further punishment.
Fish and chips, roller-coaster rides, gambling centres and a haven for bachelor and bachelorette parties, Friday night boxing brought the feel-good atmosphere of the seaside Blackpool town into the Tower Circus as highly-rated cruiserweight prospect Matty Askin – a clear hometown favourite – opened the televised undercard as he sought to protect his undefeated record against Juan Manuel Garay, an Argentine journeyman fighting out of Buenos Aires.
With a natural height advantage, the 6’4 Askin fought tall from the off while Garay crouched, led with his shoulder to protect his chin and lunged in with a chest-bound jab from time to time during a tentative start. Garay boxed with a low lead hand, his left was waist-level while he kept his right high… this allowed him to shoot from the hip, which meant Askin had to be on guard in order to parry or evade the shots that came from angles that are oft hard to see.
The more cut figure, Askin appeared well conditioned and athletic compared to Garay who carried mild paunch around his midsection. Garay shimmied his shoulders from the outside by round two, attempting to goad Askin into close combat. The second stanza contained a lot of holding but Garay’s spoiling tactics failed to keep Askin at bay too long as the 22-year-old scored with a clean head-bound flurry in the final minute of the round.
Garay proved quite a character as, when he wasn’t dancing brief jigs in between boxing, he winked at various members of the ringside audience. A one-two combination and a push from Askin forced Garay head-first into the ropes during the second minute of round three and, moments later, Askin landed a flush overhand right.
The spoiling tactics that Garay employed were perhaps indicative of Askin troubling him but by leading with his head and going for the clinch, there was an inevitable butt of heads. Garay returned to his corner between round three and four with claret streaming down his forehead and brow as a gash had opened up by his hairline – most probably due to the aforementioned accidental clash.
Askin’s left jab became more forceful by round four and the Englishman began loading up on his punches; when the first and/or second shot would miss, the third would land. Midway through the round, Garay missed with an uppercut and was swiftly counter-punched by an in-form Askin.
Askin inspired a raucous applause when he teed up a finishing move with his left jab, right uppercut and left hook. Garay was floored by the move, wriggled around the deck, winked at the commentators ringside and attempted to get to his feet by the count of seven, however, his eyes were still gone and the referee waved the bout off, thus awarding Askin the technical knockout victory.
In a good picture of sportsmanship, though, when Garay had recovered, he celebrated with Askin. The two posed for photographs together with the Argentine padding the chest of the towering man who had just scalped him.
With the win, Askin moved up to 11-0-0, 7ko.