Punchlines

Nick Parkinson learns there is no truth to the Hatton comeback rumours

By Nick Parkinson.   Last Updated: 10/09/12 10:57am

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Ricky Hatton: 'No story' behind comeback rumours

Ricky Hatton: 'No story' behind comeback rumours

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Ricky Hatton fans have been getting excited about rumours their hero is about to make a comeback, but they will be disappointed to hear that those close to the former world champion deny there is any truth in speculation he will face Paulie Malignaggi later this year.

"People are speculating but he is just keeping fit and has not made any decision on a comeback. There's no story."
Agent Paul Speak Quotes of the week

Speculation has been building over the summer that Hatton is back in training and is set to box for the first time since being knocked out by Filipino Manny Pacquiao in two rounds over three year ago, with WBA world welterweight champion Malignaggi willing to face him in November.

Manchester's former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion, 34 in October, has lost three stone so is close to his fighting weight and would have no problem being ready to face Malignaggi later this year.

But Hatton's dad Ray and agent Paul Speak have denied there is any truth in 'The Hitman' planning to face Malignaggi again, after stopping the New Yorker in the 11th round in 2008, and insist he is not in training to make a ring return.

Speak puts Hatton's weight loss down to a new healthy lifestyle and his daily routine of training his stable of young fighters at his Manchester gym.

"There's no announcement and it is a rehash of an old story," he said. "He's not had any talks with any other fighter about a comeback that I am aware of.

"He's lost about three stone which is down to him training other boxers. He's lost weight because he's living a clean lifestyle and training other boxers, not because he's training for a fight.

"People are speculating but he is just keeping fit and has not made any decision on a comeback. There's no story."

A November date against Malignaggi, 31, also looks unlikely since the American is scheduled to face Mexican Pablo Cesar Cano in defence of his WBA title on October 20.

Ricky's dad Ray told Punchlines: "As far as I'm concerned it's all rumours and speculation. He's lost weight for his own wellbeing because he's working with young boxers and it's easier to do that when you are not carrying weight."

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But one Hatton who will be fighting again soon is Ricky's younger brother Matthew, who is now fully recovered from a double fracture of the nose which he suffered in his brave points defeat to Kell Brook in March.

Matthew, 31, will box Michael Lomax over eight rounds in Manchester on October 12 in a warm-up for a shot at IBO welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden in South Africa on February 2.

Promoter Frank Maloney says Britain's Olympic boxers will not be offered huge financial deals to turn professional, despite their success at London 2012.

Super-heavyweight gold medalist Anthony Joshua has already announced his intention to stay amateur but fellow Team GB winner Luke Campbell (bantamweight) has yet to make a decision. Anthony Ogogo (middleweight) and Fred Evans (welterweight) also won bronze and silver at London 2012.

Maloney guided Lennox Lewis from his 1988 super-heavyweight gold medal triumph to become the undisputed world heavyweight champion in the pro ranks.

The London-based promoter admits he would be interested in signing Joshua, 22, but says Britain's latest Olympians can not expect the same money-spinning offers to trade in their amateur headguard and vest.

Maloney told Punchlines: "The market has completely changed to previously so it's a completely different ball game now. The broadcasters are paying less so there's less money than there was four years ago when the last Olympians turned professional or when Lennox Lewis went professional in 1989, or Audley Harrison after the 2000 Olympics.

"Am I interested in any of them? On the right terms, yes. There was only one Team GB fighter that I would be interested in signing, and that's Anthony Joshua. There were a couple of others from a foreign country too. I think Ogogo is a burnt-out fighter already, maybe too many sparring sessions, and Campbell has been in the system too long."

Some of Team GB's London 2012 boxing team may be tempted to stay amateur by the International Boxing Association's (AIBA) Professional Boxing (APB) programme, which has already signed up some of the gold medal winners from London 2012 such as Kazakh Serik Sapiyev, who beat Evans in the welterweight final, and the brilliant Ukraine lightweight Vasyl Lomachenko, who was the best boxer of the tournament.

2008 Olympic gold medallist James Degale, now European super-middleweight champion in the professional game, hopes to announce his new promoter in the next month, with Mick Hennessy looking the most likely option.

Carl Froch, Nottingham's IBF world super-middleweight champion, will announce his challenger for a defence on November 17 in his home city on Tuesday (August 28). Should the Briton retain his title in November, Froch will then travel to Montreal, Canada, to face Lucian Bute in a rematch in March.

Bute, meanwhile, has his first fight since being destroyed by Froch in five rounds last May when he takes on unbeaten, former kick boxer Denis Grachev on November 3.

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