Tony Bellew has heaped some high praise in the direction of a fellow British former fighter, whom he says he was in “complete awe” when watching them train.
Bellew had a remarkable career as a pro, winning belts at British, Commonwealth and World level and sharing a ring with the likes of Adonis Stevenson, David Haye and current unified heavyweight world champion Oleksandr Usyk.
However, in a post on social media this week, Bellew gave flowers to a man who fought at weight classes well below himself – Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton.
“I used to watch him [Ricky Hatton] train and was in complete awe! Him and Billy Graham was a boxing partnership made in boxing heaven!
The two of them created a style that no one could live with or keep up with. Billy was a brilliant coach and had great people around him like Kerry Kayes & Bobby.”
One of the most popular fighters the United Kingdom has ever produced, Hatton was adored in his hometown in Manchester.
The highlight of his 48 fight stint in the sport came when he won the IBF super-lightweight world title in a career-best performance against Kostya Tszyu in 2005. He was also involved in mega fights against Floyd Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao – and although not getting the victory those nights it didn’t impact his hero status back home.
Hatton returned to the ring last year, where he rolled back the years in an exhibition contest against Mexican legend Marco Antonio Barrera at the hallowed Manchester Arena.
That appears to have been a one off, however, with his focus seemingly on the career of his son Campbell, who is trained by Ricky’s brother Matthew and also campaigns in the super-lightweight division.