Lee Beard: Matthew Hatton deserves another title chance
Matthew Hatton can go on to win and defend a world title in future, according to reunited trainer Lee Beard, who is approaching a third week back in tandem with the former European champion.
Beard, who briefly trained Matthew’s older brother Ricky between 2008 and 2009, is preparing the ‘Magic Man’ for his warm-up bout against Michael Lomax in Manchester next month after the two decided to rekindle their partnership following an amicable split.
“Matthew has just finished his second full week now and is coming along real good,” Beard told World Boxing News. “He has always been a good trainer and is very dedicated and disciplined.
“He was a little heavy starting off due to his recent time out, but his weight is good now and his strength and conditioning is improving day by day.
“It has been very easy to get back to the way things where before,” said Beard. “I’ve known Matthew for years and outside of boxing we are good friends. Matthew knows I do a lot of one-to-one technical work and that it takes time and patience to get things right.
“I knew it would take a few days to adjust, but things are going real good now and week by week he will improve technically all the time.
The 31 year-old is pitted against southpaw Lomax in preparation for what will be a much tougher challenge in attempting to dethrone IBO belt holder Chris Van Heerden on his home soil in February and Beard is keen to cover new ground with Hatton’s preparation.
“Lomax is a 6ft southpaw and awkward so we’ve been working on a lot of ways for Matthew to be effective, both on the outside and inside so he can control and dictate the pace of the fight.
“So far, he has seemed to be loading up with punches all the time and standing in front of me jumping in with punches, a bit over aggressive, but I have been asking him to be more relaxed and be smart, to get his balance and distance right and use his skills.
“I work a lot on defence and I want Matthew to box smart in the fight. He must also get his confidence back and although I will not going to go into too much detail, by the time the fight is here I think Matthew will have that in his locker and will be comfortable with the things he can do. “
With two losses in his last the outings, Beard is of the belief that Hatton just has to make sure he regains that winning feeling as the South Africa trip, and a third world title bout looms.
“Of course winning in style would be great, but Matthew had a bad loss last fight (against Kell Brook) and getting the win is the main thing,” he explained.
“He doesn’t need to feel added pressure to win by stoppage or KO. Getting back to winning ways is the main thing and working on staying the gym to keep improving. At the moment I feel his performance will be good though.”
A win puts Hatton on top billing at a special boxing event dedicated to Nelson Mandela in Cape Town on February 2nd 2013 and Beard sees the contest as a chance for his fighter to finally conquer his world title demons against unknown quantity Van Heerden.
“He’s a good fighter, a southpaw with a good jab. He puts shots together real well and has good balance. He’s beaten some good fighters recently too and It will be a very difficult fight for Matthew being in South Africa, but he can win that fight.
“I took Argenis Mendez to South Africa in an world eliminator and he won on points, so it being in South Africa doesn’t mean he can’t get a decision and that has to go look for a KO.
“As of now though, the sole focus is on Michael Lomax and we have been working and speaking about the Lomax fight only, there is no other fight but this one October.
“Our first goal is Matthew beating Lomax and getting the Van Heerden fight, then winning that IBO belt.
“It would be great for Matthew to win that belt. He has worked really hard over the years and with his desire and dedication, I personally and people who know him will agree he deserves it.
“After that it would open possibilities for bigger fights,” he added.