By Joe Delaney, courtesy of The Daily Star
VYACHESLAV SENCHENKO is using Ricky Hatton as a stepping stone to a showdown against Amir Khan.
The Ukrainian faces ‘The Hitman’ at the Manchester Arena on Saturday night as Britain’s best-loved boxer ends a three-and-a-half-year exile.
Hatton would also dearly love a crack at Khan, but Senchenko is out to shatter those hopes.
Former WBA welterweight champion Senchenko, 35, said: “This is the way to come back into the limelight – beat one of the most popular boxers in the world.
“It would bring me back into the top positions worldwide. If I beat Ricky, then I can get another shot at a title.
“I’m not looking that far yet, because when I win this fight I will be in contention for some of the biggest fights out there.
“I could fight Amir Khan if I win, but right now I’m concentrating on this fight.”
Senchenko suffered his only loss in 33 battles back in April against Paulie Malignaggi.
The American took his world title in a big upset by stopping him in nine rounds over in Ukraine.
There are still plenty in boxing concerned that Hatton is returning, having suffered booze, drug and mental problems since losing to Manny Pacquiao in May 2009.
But Senchenko believes the Mancunian will be able to roll back the years in their 10-round welterweight clash.
He added: “When I made the decision to fight Ricky I did it expecting the best Ricky Hatton.
“We know Ricky wouldn’t have come back if he wasn’t at his best – that’s just how boxing is.
“Ricky wouldn’t have taken the risk if he didn’t think he was 100%. So we’re expecting a very hard fight.
“I’m very excited that I’m going to Manchester to fight in front of a huge crowd.
“Sure, there will be 18,000 Ricky Hatton fans – but once I’m in the ring, it’s just me and Ricky. The fans aren’t in there with him.”