Ricky Hatton stopped in ninth round by Vyacheslav Senchenko
Last Updated: 24/11/12 11:49pm
Ricky Hatton's comeback ended in a shock defeat as he was stopped in the ninth round by Vyacheslav Senchenko in front of 20,000 people at the MEN Arena in Manchester.
Hatton had not impressed on his return to the ring after a three-and-a-half-year absence but he did look to be heading for a points victory.
But the Ukrainian had begun to dominate the later rounds and a brutal left hook to the body was enough to stop Hatton, with the Mancunian hitting the canvas and failing to beat the count.
In his first fight since losing in two brutal rounds to Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas in May 2009, the 'Hitman' did not in truth show enough to suggest he can return to somewhere near the top of the welterweight division.
The 35-year-old Senchenko is a former WBA welterweight champion - losing his crown in April to Paulie Malignaggi in his only defeat before this.
With the New Yorker a former victim of Hatton, that would be a championship match-up that would have made sense and Malignaggi was ringside. It is unlikely to happen now.
Hatton was made to look distinctly ordinary at times by a man fighting outside eastern Europe for the first time in his 33-fight career, but roared on by his army of fans, he started predictably fast and dominated his opponent in the opening exchanges.
His punches were occasionally wild but he landed enough to edge the first four rounds.
But by the fifth round Hatton was starting to look a little ragged and Senchenko landed a straight left and then a jolting straight right to rock Hatton back.
The later middle rounds created some concern amongst Hatton's corner and in the crowd as their man began to show signs of weariness and his head movement dropped noticeably.
Senchenko began to have more success, particularly with the right hand, although Hatton continued to press boldly forward.
That proved to be his downfall as he walked into a juddering left hook to the ribs that dropped him to the canvas and left him writhing in agony.