Ricky "The Hitman" Hatton (37-0) answered his critics in emphatic style last night with a comprehensive 5 round demolition of America's Mike "No Joke" Stewart. The victory not only answered questions of Hatton's abilities and desire to be amongst the very best in the Light Welterweight Division, but, perhaps more importantly it also confirmed Hatton's status as the mandatory contender for the winner of the Kostya Tszyu/Sharmba Mitchell fight.
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It was very clear from the opening bell, Ricky Hatton had that steely determination to prove his critics that he was indeed a talent and force to be reckoned with as he fired in a wide variety of head and body shots to the perplexed American Stewart who probably thought he would have at least a round or 2 to warm to his task of fighting Manchester hero Hatton. After the round had reached just over the half way stage Hatton dropped Stewart with a vicious whipping left hook to the body, Stewart rose at the count of 8, which enabled the Referee Dave Parris to allow the fight to continue. Hatton was in no mood to be lenient, but this time he thought he would change the variety of shot to force the American to the canvas with only 15 seconds remaining of the round, this time it was a big overhand right which caught Stewart flush, luckily for Stewart he was not in serious trouble and thus he survived the round.
In the next 3 rounds, Hatton's attacks on his opponent were relentless. Time and time again Stewart was pinned against the ropes whilst it seemed Hatton could just pick his shots to further weaken the American's resolve to stay in the fight. No matter what Stewart attempted to do, Hatton had the bit between his teeth by just bullying his foe around the ring at will.
At no stage of the fight did Hatton allow Stewart time to formulate his attacks to give him the confidence of a least having some rest bite from the relentless body shots, which were being fired into his ribs. Stewarts offensive success was extremely sporadic, only occasionally catching the mancunian with some weak right hand shots. To be honest at the end of the 4th round I really did feel it was only a fantastic amount of pride and courage which was keeping Stewart in the fight.
The fifth round was to be the last round of the fight. As with the first 4 rounds, Hatton's attacks were relentless, at every opportunity Hatton was looking for a way to finish the fight with his ferocious attacks, the end finally came with what I considered a somewhat surprising shot. Normally Hatton finishes his fights with his sickening body shots, not on this occasion. This time after yet another onslaught Hatton sent Stewart sprawling to the canvas with a peach of a left hook to the American's head.
This time Dave Parris (Referee) decided Mike Stewart had taken enough punishment by waving an end to the fight after 2 minutes 57 seconds of the round.
So what next for Hatton and has he earnt it? To be perfectly honest Ricky Hatton has always been an exciting come forward fighter. Saturday nights performance was not only exciting but it was also a comprehensive demolition of a highly respected American opponent and as such no one can deny "The Hitman" his opportunity and shot at the winner of the Kostya Tszyu/Sharmba Mitchell fight. Whether Hatton can seize that opportunity by winning that fight has to be another entirely different debate which will create much debate on both the American and British Discussion forums of Doghouseboxing.com
The results from the exciting
MEN Arena show were as follows:
Feature: Ricky Hatton beat Mike Stewart TKO 5
Michael Jennings beat Chris Saunders TKO 6
Matthew Hatton beat Lee Armstrong Pts 8
Michael Gomez beat Leva Kirakosyan TKO 6
Stephen Foster Jnr beat Gary Thornhill TKO 9
Paul Smith beat Jason Collins TKO 1
Tony Quigley beat Leigh Wicks Pts 4
Andy Morris beat Chris Hooper TKO 3
Stephen Bell beat Daniel Thorpe Pts 6
Matthew Hall beat Howard Clarke TKO 5.
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