An Interview With Undefeated Light Heavyweight Ryan Hatton
By Oliver McManus
Blessed, or cursed, with the surname of an all time British legend it seems inevitable that Ryan Hatton was always going to become a professional boxer.
The Tamworth fighter’s story began as many do – a slightly chubby kid eager to drop the excess and begin the road to fighting fitness. Six times a national champion, Hatton’s amateur highlight was a sterling victory over Viddal Riley; a fighter forging a considerably different path.
“When I beat Viddal Riley in the NACYP finals was probably my proudest moment as an amateur and the first time I fully realised I could be professional – not just that it was something I wanted to do. He was picked over me to go to the (AIABA World Youth) Championships and I felt like I was beating him on the occasions we sparred so beating him in that final was kind of confirmation in my mind.
“He’s doing really well in getting his name out there (having signed with Mayweather Promotions); he is a very good boxer but he’s doing it to a different audience and fair play to him, he’s doing something different.
“It is kind of weird that I’ve fought him before and just to see the different routes we’ve gone down”, the 23 year old pondered,
“I think that a lot of the time and I’ll look at how people who I’ve crossed paths with are getting on now and it’s always a bit odd.
“There’s a shared respect when you’ve been in the ring with someone so you want them to do well and it’s like seeing people you used to go to school with and seeing how life has treated them – it’s always surreal.”
Having turned professional with that amateur success under his belt – Hatton was offered a trial with Team GB before injury scuppered his chances – there were heavy expectations on the youngster’s broad shoulders.
Since then there have been no major changes to the set-up of the Frank Warren fighter, though he did once try to make super middleweight, but the light-heavyweight feels a world away from his 21 year old self.
“It’s been nearly two years since I turned pro and I thought I was big and strong when I made my debut but, actually, you go through the fights you realise you aren’t quite as big and strong as you felt you were.
“Now, though, I can feel the difference and in sparring you can tell the difference really easily: I’m hitting a lot harder and I can throw people around a lot more. It’s not where I’ve changed the weight or anything like that but it’s knowing how to use it and that makes a world of difference. I look back on my debut and I think I look like a little boy, to be honest.”
A little boy that was thrust into adult life rather unexpectedly, in thanks to moving in with his long-term partner, and leave behind the comfort of the ‘family home’. All of that, though, will make ‘success’ all the sweeter.
“I live with my girlfriend and I’ve got bills to pay so I’ve probably had to grow up quicker than I thought because I could have been living with my dad, not having a job, but obviously life takes you in different directions and it’s not all about boxing. I do have a life outside of it, I’m still just like any other 23 year old, so at the moment I’m putting out ‘for sale’ signs so we can pay the bills but I don’t think much of it – it’s just what I need to do.
“When I do start achieving proper success and winning titles, when I can afford to give up the day job, I think that’s when I’ll be able to look back and think ‘it was all worth it’.”
For now the Cromwell Trucks sponsored athlete has had to tick over at a comfortable rate with five, four rounder since his debut in September 2017 but it’s time to up the ante, as far as Hatton is concerned. Fighting more regularly and over more rounds is a must for the rapidly developing light-heavy who has no ‘conditions’ or ‘demands’ to dampen any domestic rivalries.
“It’s been quite hard to only fight in four rounders because they don’t give you much time to work through the motions or really try new things out. Especially when you’re facing quite negative opponents you find a lot of time is spent trying to force openings and it feels as though you’re just getting started by the time the four rounds are up.
“I’ve enjoyed all the experiences, though, and my fight on the Frampton-Donaire undercard was a pinch yourself moment; there was hardly anyone in the stadium but knowing I was on the same show as them sort of put me in the right place.
“I debuted on the Billy Joe Saunders card (against Willie Monroe Jr), I’ve fought on a heavyweight world title undercard (Ustinov vs Charr) and two big shows in Leicester so I’ve had unreal experiences in all my fights. Obviously it’s a small hall show for my next fight at the Holte Suite (September 7th) so I’m hoping there’ll be a really good atmosphere that I can bounce off.”
The next outing will see Hatton stay busy on a Tommy Owens promotion and there is one distinct goal in mind – win, and look good in doing so.
“I want to let the bombs go and knock someone out to be honest: it’s a good feeling. The adrenaline is going through you and in the first few seconds you feel like you are THE man and you’re smiling from ear to ear but then you settle down and you compose yourself.
“It never doesn’t feel good, though, to get the stoppage but of course you don’t want to see your opponent hurt. I think if I get another stoppage I’ll be able to move on and look for bigger challenges, I want to get involved in some tests.
“I can’t stand the thought of fighting journeyman until I’m 14, 15 fights into my career and I’m not one of those people to say “what about the money” at this stage – a decent win can get you into those paydays a lot quicker than fighting ten journeyman.”