Boxing: Fighting fit Ricky Hatton prepares for return to the ring
Published 14/11/2012 | 17:09
RICKY Hatton is ready to take out his frustrations on Vyacheslav Senchenko when he returns to a boxing ring for the first time in more than three-and-a-half years next Saturday.
Former two-weight world champion Hatton, now 34, will walk out before a sell-out Manchester Arena crowd for the 10-round welterweight contest - the scene of his defining night against Kostya Tszyu in June 2005.
Blockbusting fights on the other side of the Atlantic then beckoned but defeats to pound-for-pound stars Floyd Mayweather Jr and Manny Pacquiao laid a damaging legacy upon the popular Hyde Hitman.
Following a brutal two-round demolition under Pacquiao's blurring fists in May 2009, Hatton sunk into a now well-documented depression where he struggled with drink, drugs, weight-gain, family turmoil and thoughts of suicide.
A gladly revitalised figure in near-peak condition greeted the assembled media for an open workout session at his hometown gym this afternoon, but Hatton insists that - unfortunately for his 35-year-old Ukrainian foe - there is still plenty of the devil about him.
"I think he will feel the brunt of it," he told Press Association Sport. "There's been a lot of problems.
"I've had a lot of family problems, several things that have added to my downfall, if you like, in that three-year period when I've been off.
"I'm going to throw it all at Senchenko on the night and that could be a painful night for him."
But Hatton is keen to point out this will not mean reverting to the gung-ho approach that saw him unravel against two of the sport's finest operators, as dictated by the quality of the man in the other corner.
Senchenko was undefeated in 32 fights before being stopped on cuts in April to lose his WBA belt to Paulie Malignaggi - the brash American who, four years ago this month, was Hatton's last successful conquest in a record of 45 wins and two losses.
"It's got to be done in the right manner," said Hatton.
"I can't go out there and fight with my face and with my emotions.
"It's all about sticking to the game plan that I've been working on with my trainer, Bob Shannon, for the past 12 weeks and channelling all that aggression in a positive manner.
"I think as you get a little bit older and wiser you just need to take your foot off the gas that little bit."
"Ultimately my aggressiveness got me in trouble against Manny Pacquiao, it got me in trouble against Mayweather - how many times do you have to get knocked out before the light switch goes on and you think 'I've got to slow it down a bit'?"
But that is not to say Hatton will jettison the all-action style that persuaded his boisterous travelling army of fans to cross the Atlantic time and again.
"I'm a very aggressive fighter by nature and my fighting style is why the fans love me and why they turn out in their droves every time to find me," he added.
"It will be the same old Ricky Hatton, not changed but maybe tweaked a little bit here and there."