Ricky Hatton’s promoter Dennis Hobson has confirmed the Hitman relinquished his International Boxing Federation light welterweight title Friday night and will now be moving directly on to his mouthwatering Las Vegas showdown with Jose Luis Castillo this summer.
Speaking from his home in Jersey, Hobson said: “We informed the IBF by letter Friday night that we are moving on to the super fight with Castillo in June without the IBF title.
“Ricky is very proud to be a two-time IBF champion, and, speaking as a promoter, the IBF have always been great to work with. This is a decision we’d have preferred not to have had to make, but, having thought long and hard about it, I believe this is the best way forward for Ricky.”
The Fight Academy boss added that he remains disappointed that IBF No.1 Lovemore N’dou’s management (promoters Grange Old School Boxing and manager Bill Treacy) made little effort to discuss putting together the IBF mandated fight between the Australian-based journeyman and Hatton.
He said: “We could have done business and reached an agreement. We had all week and I’d already spoken to my broadcast partners about working something out. I had a venue in mind and had spoken to them, too.
“Being totally honest, a fight with N'dou would have been a hard sell to HBO and the American fight fans but I was prepared to explore the possibility.
“Unfortunately, N'dou's people weren't exactly ringing my phone off the hook trying to make something happen.
“But Ricky and I wish N'dou the best of luck. He fought a great fight against Ben Rabah last Sunday and if he follows that up with a similar performance maybe we can do the fight later in the year.”
While admitting he and Hatton were disappointed to lose the IBF belt outside of the ring for the second time in less than a year, the Fight Academy boss had nothing negative to say about the New Jersey based sanctioning body.
“The IBF is an honourable organization and they were merely following their own rules.
“Having said that it cannot be good for the sport when the two best fighters in the division, Ricky Hatton and Jose Luis Castillo, are supposed to be kept apart when there is a deal already on the table. For boxing to thrive the best have to fight the best and, at least right now, that means Hatton v Castillo.”
Hobson concluded: “Ricky now moves forward to the biggest fight of his career, defending his IBO, Ring and linear world titles against the undisputed No.1 challenger Castillo. It will be one of the biggest and most exciting fights in years and we will learn who is the ultimate warrior at light welter.”
The exact date of the June clash with Castillo will be confirmed shortly.