IBO welterweight champion Chris Van Heerden was hoping to face both Hatton brothers in 2013, but watched on last month as his chance was shot down in flames by Vyacheslav Senchenko.
The 25 year-old is set for the biggest challenge of his career on February 2 as he tackles former European title holder Matthew Hatton on home soil in Cape Town and previously told WBN that he wanted a win over the younger brother to lead him to a fight with Ricky.
“I am disappointed as it would have been an honour to fight Ricky Hatton,” Van Heerden told World Boxing News.
“We could all see it was not the Ricky the world knew and Sencenko can be happy for that because the old Ricky would of killed him. Ricky is still an big Icon in my eyes and it would now be interesting to look at maybe fighting Senchenko in my view.”
Van Heerden had hoped to have a warm-up fight before his clash with Hatton early next year, although that now looks unlikely to happen and ‘The Heat’ will focus solely on defending his belt against ‘Magic’ Matthew.
The two fighters have been enjoying some friendly banter on social networking site Twitter since the fight announcement earlier this year and came face-to-face for the first time at the press conference last month.
“He is a lot shorter than I imagined but he’s a nice guy,” said Van Heerden. “We both respected each other and spoke well of each other so there are no problems.
“The Twitter banter is not something that gets to me as I am having a laugh more than anything else and I think it’s the same for Matthew,” he added. “I respect him and look forward to a great fight next year.”