Home Boxing News Matthew Hatton defends European welterweight title

Matthew Hatton defends European welterweight title

Matthew Hatton moved closer to a world title shot after climbing off the canvas in the first round to defend his European welterweight belt on Friday.

Hatton’s unanimous points decision in Bolton over Ukrainian Yuriy Nuzhnenko, came despite a suspected broken jaw.

It was Hatton’s first defence of the title he won in March when defeating Italian veteran Gianluca Branco.

“He’s knocking on the door, but he put me through hell,” said his promoter and older brother, Ricky Hatton.

“In the end I think he maybe won it by about three rounds.

“He’s beaten his mandatory and nine times out of 10 when you win your mandatory you go to the top four, top three in the world.”

The judges ringside scored the fight 117-110 116-111 116-111 with Hatton, 29, comfortably earning victory, despite having been floored with a left hook in the opening stages.

His best work came in the middle rounds with Nuzhnenko taking a crunching right square in the face followed by a left hook as the fifth came to a close.

Hatton showed good accuracy and hand-speed in the sixth and landed with a series of clean right hooks in the seventh.

The challenger had Hatton on the ropes in the ninth and landed with two fine rights in the 11th but Hatton held on for the win.

“Looking at him, I think he may have suffered a bit of a broken jaw, his jaw looks quite swollen,” said Ricky Hatton, himself a former welterweight world champion.

“So if that proves to be the case, how he dug deep from such a bad start with a broken jaw to do that, fair play to him.

“That’d be a dream, to get him a world title.”

The win over Nuzhnenko marks the latest step in the gradual emergence of Manchester’s Hatton from the shadow of his brother Ricky – a former world champion.

It was the 40th victory of a 46-fight career which has also seen him lose four times and draw twice.

Matthew Hatton admitted to being disappointed with how he performed and to being caught cold when floored in the first round.

“I’m not that pleased about the way I boxed but that guy put a lot of pressure on me,” he said.

“I didn’t have the best of starts and still won comfortably so I’m pleased.

“He caught me cold – it can happen. I’ve got a very good chin and I recovered instantly.

“I wasn’t shaken up, I wasn’t hurt. If you get caught by a tough guy like that who can punch a little bit and you’re off balance, you’re going to go over, and that’s what happened. But it didn’t hurt me at all.”

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