Matthew Hatton admits that Yuri Nuzhnenko will be the best opponent he has ever faced.
‘Magic’ Matthew (39-4-2) makes the first defence of his European light-welterweight title against his Ukrainian mandatory challenger at Bolton Arena on July 16.
Nuzhnenko (30-1-1) is a former WBA interim champion and Hatton says: “The opponents are getting better and Nuzhnenko is the best I have fought. He is a really good fighter and his calibre speaks for himself. He is a former WBA world champion and lost just one fight.
“I am expecting a tough night, but it is a fight I go into full of confidence. Previous opponents like Gianluca Branco, Lovemore Ndou and Ben Tackie were still good fighters, but they were advancing in age, while Nuzhnenko is by no means an old man.”
Nuzhnenko sole defeat came against current WBA king Vyacheslav Senchenko who is on 29-year-old Hatton’s hit list along with Mexican sensation Saul Alvarez.
Matthew added: “I will take on anyone if the terms are right, but nothing seems to come. A few times I have been offered massive fights in America against men like Julio Cesar Chavez Jnr, Zab Judah and Saul Alvarez.
“There is talk of Alvarez in September, but I am in a good position and if I get past Nuzhnenko I could be looking at Senchenko. I never look past my next opponent, but I’m a firm believer that you have to look at future fights.”
A second major title fight on the Bolton bill sees St Helens Martin Murray challenge Aussie Peter Mitrevski Jnr (23-6-1) for the vacant Commonwealth middleweight title.
Bury box office star Scott Quigg (18-0) meets tough Gavin Reid (6-6-1) in a Commonwealth light-middleweight champion Craig Watson (17-3) steps back down to welterweight to face a selected opponent in a ten rounder. Another keenly fought fight is likely to come when Bury’s unbeaten super-bantamweight Scott Quigg (18-0) faces Gavin Reid (6-6-1).
The star studded undercard includes several top Hatton Promotions prospects including Anthony Crolla (17-2), Matty Askin (6-0), Craig Lyon (10-0), Rhys Roberts (9-0), Jez Wilson (6-1) and Navid Iran (1-0).
Tickets are available from 0161 775 7500 or http://www.ticketline.co.uk/tickets/13246636/a-night-of-championship-box.
Price £30, £50, £75 Ringside and £95 VIP Ringside.