Manchester’s former European champion and world title challenger, Matthew Hatton, has today announced his retirement from boxing after enjoying a highly successful career which began 13 years ago.
After missing out on the IBO welterweight strap against highly-rated South African, Chris Van Heerden, in March, the oft-entertaining Hatton has thought long and hard about his future and despite the temptation to give it one more go, he has decided that hanging his gloves up is the right decision to make.
“The one thing that I always wanted out of my career was the chance to say that I was a world champion,” revealed the man they called “Magic.” “After the loss to Van Heerden, I thought about retiring straightaway because I genuinely believe that I should have been able to beat a fighter of that standard. That’s not me being disrespectful to Chris because he is a good fighter but I just think to be at the level I believed I could be at, I had to be beating fighters of Chris’ calibre.”
As well as walking out of Johannesburg’s Sandton Convention Centre without the glory he had always dreamed about, Hatton also had injury worries on his mind as he had obtained a nasty eye injury in preparation for the bout when sparring. When consulting experts, Hatton was warned that surgery to fix nerve damage around the eye would heavily impact on the fighter’s schedule and that he wouldn’t be able to fight for around eight months. This was also a crucial factor in making Hatton’s choice more routine.
“When you’ve got kids, you begin to realise what is important in life and when you’ve got a doctor pointing out all the possibilities of what could go wrong, it puts things into perspective. I’ve got two young children now and even though they can act as a motivation tool for fighters, they also highlight the risks that a fighter takes every time we step into the ring. I’ve come out of the sport with no real damage done and I’m extremely grateful for that. I’ve earned well, my health is intact and I’ve achieved an awful lot for a fighter that a lot of people wrote off.”
The achievements that Hatton speaks fondly of include a successful run as European champion which included dominant victories over respected operators, Gianluca Branco and Yuri Nuzhnenko, and a memorable voyage to California when the popular Mancunian took on Mexican superstar, Saul Alvarez. Hatton’s American quest was unsuccessful but he earned wide applause for his courageous effort a division north of what he was used to.
“That European title run was a big highlight for me because it finally showed people that I was a good fighter and I could certainly mix it at a high level. My career has had many ups and down over the years and the only thing that I’d maybe change was the fact that I never had much of an amateur career. I’ve had to work hard in every single fight from the get go but that has made me the fighter who I am and boxing has given me so many memorable nights.”
Hatton added, “I’ve had the chance to work with so many promoters and trainers throughout my life and it’d take me a long time to thank each and every one of them but the two people I’d like to mention are Bob Shannon and Lee Beard. They’re the two who I really connected with and the hard work and effort they put in to me is something I’ll never forget. I’ve learned from many great trainers and I’ll be hoping to put the knowledge to good use because I definitely want to stay in the sport because I’d get a real buzz taking a young fighter to a big title.”
Hatton retires with an outstanding record of 43-7-2. He can now look forward to a spell outside the ropes with his loving family who have supported him throughout his lengthy career.