By Terence Dooley
Manchester’s “Magic” Matthew Hatton, 42-6-2 (16), faces a busy schedule over the next four months as he bids to get his career back on the winning track following March’s wide decision defeat to undefeated welterweight contender Kell Brook. Hatton takes on Michael “The Look” Lomax at Salford’s Bowlers Exhibition Centre on a Coldwell Promotions-bill on Friday night and, should he win, will meet Chris van Heerden for the IBO 147lb title in Cape Town, South Africa on February 2.
The 31-year-old former European title-holder parted company with former trainer Bob Shannon after losing to Brook, he is now back with Lee Beard, who was his trainer from 2008 until 2010. According to his new, old coach the younger brother of Ricky Hatton, ironically “The Hitman” is now trained by Shannon, do keep up, is itching to show that his career has a few more high points left in it.
“Matthew is coming back, he’s got the experience,” said Beard when speaking to BoxingScene. “Matthew did a bit of work with Oliver Harrison then said he wanted to speak to me, he was in Tenerife and sent me a text asking me to meet up about us working together again. I hadn’t spoke to Matthew for a long time, but always got on well with him.”
London’s Lomax, 18-4-1 (3), will hope to throw a spanner into the works in Friday’s scheduled eight-threes non-title fight, but Beard feels that his guy has the beating of the 2008 Prizefighter: The Welterweights champion.
“Obviously he was a good amateur, and won Prizefighter, but I’m confident with the way Matthew’s looked in the gym,” he said when weighing up the 34-year-old opponent. “Lomax is a 6’ southpaw, it is an awkward situation, but if Matthew thinks about what he’s doing he can move inside without getting caught. Matthew can use his head, he’s got very fast feet and his jab is the key, even though he’s fighting a southpaw, and he has proven that in sparring. I think he’ll break Lomax down. Two or three rounds, then he’ll start getting the job down and be where he needs to be by the fifth.”
Should Hatton beat Lomax, Johannesburg’s van Heerden, the IBO title and an intimidating trip to South Africa will beckon in the winter. Beard, though, took Argenis Mendez to South Africa in January 2011, a decision win over Cassius Baloyi, and is confident that Hatton will prevail against the 18-1-1 (10) champion.
“Focus on this, then Chris in South Africa, I think he’ll beat him,” he said. “Heerden’s a good boxer, he got beat by Nikola Stevanovic when the guy got in his face and made him uncomfortable. Matthew will then have the IBO title, but he’s got to first and foremost get back on the winning streak to take that back into the South Africa fight.
“I’ve been there before with Mendez, it is good because it is a strange place, but we went there a few weeks before to get used to the climate. It was 30-odd hours of flying to get there, so we were tired, and the altitude was a problem, but Mendez got there and dominated the fight. I told him not to look ahead, or that they often go for the home fighters, and told him to put pressure on and win the rounds. Matthew will go, win every round as it comes, start fast and dictate the pace to do what he wants to do.”
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