By Phil D. Jay
Two division world champion Ricky Hatton has told WBN that he will have the top welterweights in his sights if his upcoming return to the ring against Vyacheslav Senchenko goes to plan on November 24.
Hatton has been linked to fighting current WBA champion Paulie Malignaggi in 2013, but needs an impressive performance in his first pro outing for over three years at Manchester Arena, to put himself in the frame for a shot at a fifth world title.
“If all goes well with me against Senchenko and if Paulie wins on the 20th, then he will still be a world champion, so he will be one of the world title holders that I will be looking at,” Hatton told World Boxing News.
“Timothy Bradley is also a world champion so I would consider fighting him too, but first things first, I need to beat Senchenko before I can talk about boxing for a world title.”
The die-hard Manchester City fan, who turned 34 on Saturday, has had plenty of suitors since announcing his planned return last month, with the likes of old rival Junior Witter, contenders Phil Lo Greco and Carson Jones, along with IBO champion Chris Van Heerden expressing their interest.
The latter, Van Heerden, is lined up to face Ricky’s younger brother Matthew next February, with the South African hopeful of gaining a revenge challenge from the ‘Hitman’ as stated in a recent interview with World Boxing News.
“A fight with Ricky would mean the world to me as he’s the real Hatton. He’s an idol to me but ‘The Heat’ wants him even if it means I have to fight in England.
“The Question is ‘will Ricky Hatton step-up to defend his younger brothers honour after I beat Matthew?”
The elder Hatton is unlikely to take up Van Heerden’s offer though, even if he come through Matthew to retain his IBO crown as Ricky wants to place himself right back in the mix with the pound for pounds stars at the sharp end of the 147lb weigh-class.
“I won’t necessarily (be looking to fight Van Heerden) no, I would want to take a look at who is out there for me,” explained Hatton.
“My comeback is about me and I want to box the best, win another world title and I want some meaningful fights. I want to get back in the mix and I want people to be proud of me again.”
On whether trash talking Witter had any final chance of snagging Hatton for the fight he has sought since the late 1990’s, the Mancunian was pretty blunt in his response to the current British champion.
“A fight with Junior is definitely off the table.”
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net