Former European welterweight champion Matthew Hatton is just one fight away from a third world title shot as the Mancunian faces Michael Lomax on October 12, before jetting off to South Africa to face Chris Van Heerden in February.
The experienced 31 year-old, who has 50 fights behind him in a twelve-year career, suffered the sixth defeat in March when going down on points to Kell Brook in Sheffield and is ready to get back to winning ways on the Coldwell Boxing show at Bowlers in eight weeks’ time.
‘Magic’ Hatton has reunited with former trainer Lee Beard after amicably parting ways with Bob Shannon and hopes to enjoy more success with the coach in the coming months.
“I am very pleased to back training with Lee. I had a good run of results under Lee and produced some of my best work,” Hatton told World Boxing News.
“I know we will gel really quickly. I believe he can bring the best out of me and feel my best years are still to come.”
First up for the two is Lomax, who has suffered three losses in his last six fights and noticeably struggles when the calibre of his opponents are raised to the top end of domestic level as Kell Brook, Bradley Pryce and Frankie Gavin have recently proven.
If Hatton can successfully negotiate the Chingford man, a February 2nd date with IBO champion Van Heerden is already set and Hatton is excited at having a third chance to secure his dream of becoming world champion.
“I was contacted by the promoters of the event ShowPony Promotions. They asked if I was interested in the fight,” explained Hatton.
“Van Heerden was an opponent who had been offered to me before so I had already seen tapes of him. I knew it was a fight I could definitely win so didn’t have to think about it too long.
“I have seen him fight and respect him, but I believe I have boxed in a far higher class. I feel it will be a huge factor on fight night. I expect it to be a tough fight but I am 100% confident I will be the new champion.”
The bout forms part of a huge boxing night in honour of former President Nelson Mandela, with the likes of Evander Holyfield and Ray Mercer pencilled in to make appearances and Hatton revealed his pride at being a part of the show.
“South Africa is a place I’ve never been. I am looking forward to going and being part of such a massive event.
“I am very privileged and excited to be part of what will be a memorable day for all South Africans.”
It won’t be the first time Hatton has fought for the IBO belt as a 2009 battle with Lovemore Ndou failed to go to plan on home soil as the contest was scored a draw when many thought he did enough to get the verdict.
“I still feel I won the fight with Ndou and nobody will ever tell me different. But that is in the past and I’m a firm believer you need to concentrate on the future,” he said.
“I didn’t have a great experience that night with the judges and feel that Chris’s only chance of winning the February fight is if he gets some hometown help with the judges.
“Hopefully I will get a fair crack of the whip over there and will try my very best to take the judges out of the equation.”
Asked where he sees himself in twelve months’ time, Hatton added: “I see myself physically and mentally at my peak, the IBO world champion and on the brink of some more huge fights.”