06.06.06 - By Jeff Bastasini: Ricky Hatton (41-0, 30 KO's) is most likely to defend his WBA welterweight title against mandatory challenger, Oktay Urkal, 36, a German based fighter, according to the BBC. Rather than relinguish his title, following his hard fought bout with Luis Collazo, Hatton has decided to hold on to the belt, at least for now, and take on Urkal. Back in 2001, Urkal (37-3, 11 KO's) fought Kostya Tszyu is an exciting bout, which saw a lot of action, before he tired at the end and lost by decision..
Article posted on 07.06.2006
Since then, however, Urkal put his career in the slow lane, winning the European light Welterweight title and defending it several times before finally challenging Vivian Harris for the WBA light welterweight title in 2004. Despite being knocked down in the 3rd round, Urkal came back to make the fight close.
Personally, I think this is a good move on Hatton's part to take this fight, since I think he's better than his performance against Collazo would indicate. I think it would be bad for him career-wise to step back down to the light welterweight division, without defending the title at least once, because it's something that can cause doubt in people's minds, including his own and hurt him later on, perhaps when he has no choice but to move back up in weight due the natural aging process. More to the point, at 147, Hatton has many more options than he does at 140. However, this fight is not without danger, as Urkal is a tricky fighter, who moves a lot in the ring, while at the same time, he can apply a lot of pressure, particularly when his opponents think they have him beat. He's a tough fighter to look good against and compares a lot with Collazo in his ring skills.