Former two-division world champion, Ricky Hatton, has criticised the state of the sport following the collapse of Tyson Fury’s undisputed clash against Oleksandr Usyk.
Hatton is widely regarded as one of Britain’s greatest ever boxers, having held belts at both super-lightweight and welterweight, ending his career with a record of 45-3, with two of those losses coming against legends Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao.
In an interview with Seconds Out, ‘The Hitman’ admitted that the sport is currently in a dark place in terms of matchmaking, and fears that the rise of the crossover boxing could leave the traditional side playing catch up.
“I think eventually someone has got to give a little. At the minute, it seems like there is no give and if this fight doesn’t take place, with Tyson-AJ or with Tyson-Usyk, AJ-Usyk, if these fights don’t happen it is a terrible shame for our sport, isn’t it?”
“We’ve got YouTubers fighting boxers and we’ve got MMA [stars] fighting, and everything like that. So, we are playing catch up to these farcical f***ing fights to be honest with you. We can’t get the Spence-Crawford fight, we can’t get Tyson and Usyk on, UFC and YouTubers, everyone is overtaking us [boxing].”
Boxing fans are used to the big fights not getting made, or happening when fighters are past their peak, but Fury-Usyk being so close this time around makes it an ever harder pill to swallow.
Gervonta Davis vs Ryan Garcia have shown the way – two unbeaten superstars of the sport putting it all the line on April 22. Fans will be hoping this will be a catalyst for more big fights to be made in 2023.