By Adam Norman
Matthew Hatton still retains the "hunger" to work his way back into title contention, according to his new trainer.
Hatton is back under the watchful eye of Manchester's Lee Beard, who was a vital part of Team Hatton back in the glory years.
'Magic' Matthew split with Bob Shannon following his defeat to Kell Brook in Sheffield earlier this year and had been considering his options for a new trainer.
A recent spell with Oliver Harrison came to nothing but when Hatton approached Beard last week the trainer was only too happy to be re-united with the former European welterweight champion.
And with the 31-year-old losing two out of his last three (including a lop-sided defeat to the classy Saul Alvarez in Mexico) Beard believes he can guide Hatton back to a title shot.
"I do a lot of technical work, but I work a lot on the defensive side of things," said Beard. "He said he felt he was getting hit a lot easier in his last few fights.
"I want Matthew to be more patient, and not expose himself as much. If you keep coming forward in straight lines you are going to get hit a lot."
Hatton returns to the ring against former Prizefighter champion Michael Lomax in Manchester on October 12, with a big fight in South Africa already set for 2013.
"The short term goal is to beat Lomax, which will set him up for the IBO title fight against in Cape Town against Chris van Heerden next year," added Beard.
"Once he gets his hands on a title, it'll open up other avenues.
"But Lomax is first and he's a 6ft southpaw with a good amateur pedigree, so he's going to be tricky enough.
"Matthew's coming off a loss where he suffered a broken nose. But we trained for the first time this week and I can see he's still very hungry.
"I can see it in his eyes. He's always been a good trainer and he's very easy to train, he's very disciplined.
"My goal is the way to develop him again in the way I think he should be fighting, but he's coming off a loss and we've got to get that out of the way."
Beard is also training super-featherweight contender Argenis Mendez, who is the mandatory challenger to Juan Carlos Salgado, the IBF champion.
Salgado edged a narrow decision the last time the pair met and Beard is convinced the Mexican is looking to dodge a re-match, with Yuriorkis Gamboa being named as his next likely opponent.
"Everyone thought Mendez won the first fight and Salgado will at all cost avoid the re-match," added Beard.
"Gamboa poses huge threats but is coming up from 126 and is smaller than Mendez. He prides himself on being a big puncher but he caught Mendez with some big shots and he never blinked an eye.
"He's got to fight Mendez by the end of January but that's not going to happen if the Gamboa fight goes ahead in November.
"We'll just end up sitting there, but he needs to fight. He'll probably fight an eight-rounder to keep busy but he won't be happy."
Tags: Matthew Hatton