us a methodical journey through the domestic ranks, then the European level before perhaps challenging for world championships in the future. Don’t miss this essential interview with Matthew Hatton; honest, entertaining and certainly one of Britain’s most promising young fighters.
SaddoBoxing.com: You're fighting Robert Burton tomorrow, how was the weigh in this morning?
Matthew Hatton: Well, there’s been a bit of controversy today really at the weigh in, because what’s happened is we get to the weigh in, and obviously the fights been made at ten stone seven, welterweight, I was ten stone six and a half, he gets on the scales and he was ten stone ten and half a pounds. Three and a half pounds over. So they said to him you've got an hour to get the weight off. So he came back an hour later and they've not shifted an ounce. He said he couldn't get any weight off. So, since I beat Rob for the welterweight belt, Rob has won the area title at light middleweight. So what's happening now is the fights going ahead but it's going ahead for Rob's light middleweight title now. Which we're not very happy about really because to be honest we think they've done this intentionally really. I mean they knew he was three and a half pounds over weight and I don't think he's really tried to get down to ten and a half stone, I think they've had this planned right from the off. All along it's been for my area title at welterweight, today they've just turned up three and a half pounds over weight so they've played a bit of a dirty trick really.
SB: How do you feel now?
MH: Well, I'm a little bit annoyed really because it's a dirty trick to play that and I wouldn't do that to a fellow fighter meself but I know I've got the beating of Rob, I've beaten him once before. I'm not worried about a few pounds, when I win this belt I'll be the area champion at light middleweight as well, which I'll probably vacate after winning it, but I can always say I've held a title at light middleweight also.
SB: You've beaten Burton on points in a previous contest. Will this fight be any different to last time?
MH: I don't think so no. Because even though Rob has come in at light middleweight and he's been boxing at light middle, I'm a big welterweight and to be honest I can't see a few pounds making much difference and I think I've improved massively since I boxed Rob last time. I'm improving all the time now like I've been saying I only had twenty amateur fights and turned pro young. So now I'm finding I've got a little bit more experience behind me and I'm really starting to show people now what I can do. I'm improving all the time and I've improved quite a lot since I boxed Rob last time so if anything I think I'm going to do a better job on him.
SB: How's training been going?
MH: Training's gone very well. I only had a week off after me last fight. When I got back in the gym I was still fit, I hadn't put much weight on, so training’s gone really well and I'm looking forward to it now.
SB: What goes into an average day of your training?
MH: I'd say an average day, I probably get up most days about nine o'clock, have something to eat. I get to the gym for about half-twelve, I do me boxing training and then when I've done me boxing training I do a weights program with Kerry Kays. I do that four days a week, the weights. Then I come home have me tea, something to eat and sit down, then I usually go running about half past seven at night for about an hour or so, then I get back from me run check me weight and then early to bed ready for the next day.
SB: Sounds strenuous.
MH: Yeah it's a bit repetitious really. Different people train different ways. Some people run in the morning or train at night that’s just the way our gym's always done it really, I find that it suits me.
SB: You are a young fighter in terms of being a professional, what aspects of your game are you concentrating on fine-tuning the most?
MH: Just really me skills in the ring really, I'm a strong fighter, I'm a fast fighter but the only thing I've been lacking really, and I think the reason why I've produced some performances which haven't been quite as good as I'm capable of has just been experience really, you know? Lack of ring experience, I only had twenty amateur fights and I turned pro early at nineteen. Really we've just been working on certain things at the gym, but mainly it's just been about getting the fights, getting in the ring and getting more experience which I feel I am quite experienced as a pro now. And people are starting to see what I can really do now.
SB: Do you ever regret not staying in the amateurs for longer?
MH: Maybe I do a little bit, because maybe it would have benefited me to stay amateur a little bit longer and got a bit more experience in the amateurs and matured a little bit and got a little bit older and then turned professional. But, you know, I can't turn the clock back now and I've done well as a pro. I've had twenty-four fights now and I've only lost a couple so, you know, things haven't gone bad at all.
SB: Assuming you beat Burton tomorrow night, describe the ideal version of the next twelve months of your career, what is Matthew Hatton's route to the top?
MH: Well, I'd say the next title I'd like to go for or the next fight I'd like would be against Ross Minter. Maybe for an international title or something like that, an intercontinental title because I feel that me and Ross are at similar levels in our careers, and a fight between me and him would create good publicity and generate a lot of interest. And it's a good fight between two fighters on the way up to see who can push on for that next level and then a few more fights under my belt and I'd be looking at a British title fight.
SB: You’re fighting on the under card of a fight for the British welterweight title, how long is it before we see you going after a British title?
MH: I'd say I'm probably six months off fighting for the British title. I'd ideally like a couple more fights. Six months in the gym and then I think I'd be ready for a fight like that.
SB: You've had two losses in your career, what did you learn from your losses?
MH: Well to be honest me first loss, I know everyone says I was robbed and that but, I was genuinely robbed that night. I mean, all the reporters and the “boxing news,’ which is an independent boxing paper, they had me winning that fight comfortably. But people get bad decisions I put that behind me. I learned a lot from that fight, maybe I underestimated the opponent. And me second fight I lost on a cut. In a fight that was a six
round fight and I got stopped in the fourth round and I'd won the three rounds before that so I was well on me way to winning in that fight. Sustained a bad cut, and as you know the rules over here are if you get stopped on a cut you lose the fight (it doesn't go to the score cards) so to be honest I don't see that as a defeat and the other one was a bad decision so even though I do have two losses on me record I still see myself as an unbeaten fighter. I've never got in there and felt like I've been beaten by the better man on the night or anything like that. I've just not had the best of luck to be honest.
SB: What are your likes and dislikes in regard to being a professional fighter, what do you think needs to be changed about the boxing industry in the UK?
MH: Well, I think on the whole boxing is very well run in this country you just get the odd thing like what's happened to this fight you get the odd dirty trick played but boxing is a mans sport. It's a hard game it's a tough game and these things go on, but I think boxing over in this country is healthy and in a good state at the minute.
SB: We talked earlier about the fact that you are very young for a professional boxer, and you didn't have a long time in the amateurs. Who or what made you want to become a professional boxer?
MH: I'd say probably seeing the success (older brother) Ricky had and I'd go to shows seeing him fight at the MEN and at Wembley and places like this and I thought, “yeah I'd like to be professional and box in these great venues,” which I have done. I've boxed at the MEN arena. I've boxed at Wembley. So obviously, you've seen how well he did, that encouraged me to turn professional early.
SB: If you weren't a fighter, what occupation do you think you would have taken?
MH: Well before I turned professional I worked in me Dad’s family carpet business, I was a carpet fitter before I turned professional. I was quite a good footballer. I played cricket and fooball at quite a good level. A year or so before I turned professional I was invited to join Oldham Athletic football club but I chose the boxing, I was boxing amateur and carpet fitting for me Dad.
SB: Why did you choose boxing over football?
MH: Just because, to be honest, I enjoyed me boxing more than me football. I know it sounds funny getting smacked in the face, I prefer doing that than kicking a ball around but I just was really into me boxing at the time, and I was enjoying me boxing more than me football so that was why I stuck with me boxing.
SB: Who is your favorite boxer?
MH: Me favorite boxer of all time is 'Sugar' Ray Leonard. I love watching his fights. He was a great fighter in the ring and also he was a colorful character out of the ring, you know, a showman. I used to love watching his fights and there are a lot of good fighters out there at the minute.
SB: The whole scene of boxing over the last year or so dramatic changed with regards to the pound for pound question, with Roy Jones last three fights being what they were, Who do you think is pound for pound the best fighter in the world today?
MH: I think pound for pound the best fighter out there at the minute, my pick would be Floyd Mayweather. He's at light welterweight and probably his best division is probably still lightweight. He's been a world champion at super featherweight, he's been a world champion at lightweight and I think he'll go on to be a world champion at light welterweight so I'd say pound-for-pound, even though I'm not saying he's the best light welterweight out there. I think to be honest the two best light welterweights out there at the minute, obviously you've got Kostya Tszyu, you got Ricky who's doing well, he's definitely up there and I think he'd (Mayweather) have a handful with those guys but the way he's moved up through the weights, he's a great fighter and he'd be a match for all of those people even though he's not naturally as big as those people.
SB: what are your hopes for the future?
MH: Me hopes for the future are just taking things one stage at a time. I've got a tough fight tomorrow, and then just take things one stage at a time. English title, British title and European, if you can win those then who knows? You know, everyone's ambition I'd say when they turn professional is to be a world champion and I think I'm a way off that standard at the moment but I think I've got the ability to get up there one day.
SB: Well you are still young so you've got plenty of time to do it.
MH: Yeah, I'm only twenty-three, I turned professional early with little amateur experience I probably won't hit me peak for probably another three or four years so I've got loads of time.
SB: Do you have any pre-fight rituals?
MH: No, I don't have a set ritual really. Even though most of the time I do the same sort of things like eat the same kind of food and go to the same sort of places for me food. I'm not one of these that puts one boot on before the other or does a certain thing before they go. I just go with what I do at the time.
SB: Thanks very much for your time Matt. I wish you all the best on Friday night and I'll speak to you soon.
MH: Cheers, thank you.
Ben Lynch can be reached at email@example.com