By Ben Carey
Hatton Promotions are hopeful of attracting a sell-out crowd to their first major promotion in Stoke which will see Matthew Hatton top the bill against Lovemore N’Dou for the IBO welterweight title at the Fenton Manor Sports Complex next Friday (November 13).
The quality card also features Rob Norton defending his Commonwealth cruiserweight crown against Akinyemi Laleye, Darren McDermott contesting the English middleweight championship against Danny Butler and an intriguing eight-rounder between Derry Matthews and local favourite Scott Lawton at super-featherweight.
The main event, which seemed to be in jeopardy a month ago after N’Dou sustained a cut in training, will go ahead despite previous rumours to the contrary.
‘It has wrongly been reported on the internet (not on this site) and indeed in Boxing News that the fight might be off due to a cut to Lovemore. Whilst it is correct that Lovemore did sustain a cut in training, medical examination has confirmed it will not prevent him fighting on the 13th November,’ assured Hatton Promotions in a statement on October 9.
Nevertheless, news of N’Dou’s injury has surely handed Hatton an early psychological advantage going into the sternest test of his 42-fight career. He is sure to target N’Dou’s eye in an attempt to re-open the wound which could then place the normally aggressive South African on the defensive.
“I have been training hard for this fight so I was disappointed when I heard rumours that Lovemore may be pulling out. In the last six months I have accepted fights against Zab Judah and Kell Brook, which fell through because Zab changed his mind and wanted me to fight at light-welterweight and Kell’s team were demanding options on me which my promoters were not prepared to give,” claimed Matthew.
“I have the confidence in my team and I am relieved that the fight will go ahead as planned,” the 28-year-old Hatton added.
Veteran N’Dou, who recently turned 38, is a former IBF light-welterweight title holder and scooped the IBO welterweight bauble in July with a unanimous points win over compatriot Philip N’Dou (no relation). Although the South African has suffered 11 defeats (against 47 wins and a draw) he has never been stopped despite mixing with some elite company including Sharmba Mitchell, Miguel Cotto, Junior Witter, Paulie Malignaggi and Kermit Cintron.
The strength of N’Dou’s CV is likely to make him a narrow favourite but the in-form Hatton will quietly believe that he can cause an upset. Since losing on points to Craig Watson in an unsuccessful challenge for the Commonwealth welterweight title 18 months ago, Hatton has stringed together four decent victories against Ernesto Zepeda (pts 8), former European light-welterweight champion Ted Bami (TKO6), Ben Tackie (pts 10) and Scott Woolford (pts 8) to take his record to a statistically impressive 37-4-1 (14).
Tickets, priced at £150, £85, £50 and £30 are available by calling 0161 775 7500 or 0844 888 9991.