Boxing


Ricky Hatton Punishes Kostya Tszyu to Win IBF Light Welter Title

MANCHESTER, England (June 5, 2005) In front of 22,000 screaming, singing and chanting fans who waited for a 2 a.m. local start, Ricky Hatton took out boxing's universally recognized 140-pound fighter with an 11th round TKO to win the IBF junior welterweight tile. After 11 rounds of torrid-paced boxing, Tszyu's corner decided to retire before answering the bell for the final stanza. Saturday's world championship fight on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING was co-promoted by Frank Warren's Sports Network and Millenium Events.

Hatton (39-0, 29 KOs), of Manchester, England, did his best work on the inside, out-muscling Tszyu. After 11 frames, he lead on all three scorecards, 107-102, 106-103 and 105-104.

"To beat somebody like Kostya Tszyu is incredible," Hatton said afterwards. "I tried to stay close through the first four or five rounds, accepting shots and hitting him back. I did it with my boxing abilities and the brain between my head."

Hatton's training regiment, including 2 a.m. workouts, proved to be decisive as he appeared much fresher than Tszyu in the fight's later rounds. In the final nine minutes of the fight, Hatton bullied Tszyu around the ring, taking full control of the bout.

Before his first world title bout, Hatton successfully defended his World Boxing Union title for the 14th time with a 10th-round knockout over Ray Oliveira in his last start on Dec. 11, 2004, in London, England.

Tszyu (31-2, 25 KOs, 1 ND), of Sydney, Australia, by way of Serov, Russia, countered effectively, leaping back to avoid the challenger's incoming assault while delivering to Hatton's chin. The future Hall of Famer was game through the first eight rounds, fighting well from the outside and holding his ground on the inside.

In the ninth, he was warned for hitting below the belt. Immediately following the warning, Hatton delivered a low blow of his own that sent Tszyu to the canvas.

Tszyu boxed tiredly the next two rounds with his mouth wide open, no longer able to escape Hatton's relentless attack. After 11 gruesome rounds, he called it quits.

"I am a proud man," Tszyu said. "But today I lost to the best fighter."

This was Tszyu's 17th world title bout. His only other defeat came on May 31, 1997, when challenger Vince Phillips scored a dramatic 10th-round TKO in Atlantic City, N.J., to capture the IBF junior welterweight title. Ring Magazine listed the thrilling bout as its "Upset of the Year."

SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING's Steve Albert and Al Bernstein called the action from ringside with Jim Gray serving as roving reporter. The executive producer of the SHOWTIME telecast was Jay Larkin, with David Dinkins producing and Bob Dunphy directing.

The next SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING telecast is July Fourth weekend with a spectacular heavyweight showdown. Featuring the hottest fighter in the division, Samuel "the Nigerian Nightmare" Peter will continue his ascension toward the top of the heavyweight ranks when he returns to the network on Saturday, July 2, at 9 p.m. ET/PT (tape delayed on the west coast). Peter will attempt to tame "The Bull" when he battles North American Boxing Association (NABA) Heavyweight Champion Taurus Sykes. Duva Boxing will present the 12-round heavyweight bout from the Reno Events Center in Reno, Nevada.

For information on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING and "ShoBox: The New Generation" telecasts, including complete fighter bios and records, related stories and more, please go the SHOWTIME website at http://www.sho.com/boxing.

Article posted on 05.06.2005



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