Ricky Hatton MBE revealed to Boxing Social the fight that made him ‘knuckle down’ and dedicate himself to the sport – and it’s particularly relevant today.
In fact, it was only due to a question of the upcoming fight between Chris Eubank Jr and Conor Benn that ‘The Hitman’ was on the topic. It turns out that as a teenager, young Hatton was in the back row of the stadium when their fathers – Chris Eubank Sr and Nigel Benn – faced off for the second time.
“It’s ironic really, I started boxing and I never really took it [seriously] until I went to the Nigel Benn – Eubank fight at Old Trafford. I was 15 years of age, paid 75 quid for a ticket and I was on the back row. I couldn’t see nout. The roar of the crowd, I thought ‘Oh this is what I want.’
When I used to see Nigel Benn – so ferocious, so attacking – he had you on the edge of the seat with every attack. And that’s the reason why I knuckled down to boxing and started taking boxing seriously.”
In their first fight, Eubank Sr took victory via knockout. The rematch saw 42,000 punters fill Old Trafford, with half a billion more tuning in from around the world. It was a back-and-forth affair with as thrilling a final round as you’ll ever see.
The fight was scored a split-draw, and the Eubank – Benn rivalry was put to bed, at least until now.
Hatton went on to become a two-weight world champion, apparently with thanks to Benn and Eubank Sr for sparking his desire to pursue the sport properly.
Moving onto the two sons scrapping, Hatton likely summed up the feelings of many boxing fans who were around to witness the fathers face off in the nineties.
“When you think now, all these years on, that the two sons, Conor and Chris Eubank Jr, are going to be fighting each other it doesn’t bear thinking about. Their dads were the [people who] got me into boxing, and now the sons are fighting. And my son’s fighting. It makes you feel old.”
Eubank Jr and Conor Benn will meet in the ring at The O2 in London on October 8. Fans can tune in via DAZN PPV.
Ricky Hatton will certainly be watching, although one man who may not be is Chris Eubank Sr, who has recently voiced his disapproval of the fight citing a dangerous weight cut for his son as the reason.