Loughborough College degree student Ryan Hatton has made his professional boxing debut in spectacular fashion – on a world title undercard in London.
A six national junior title winner, the 21 year old embarked on his paid career at the Copperbox Arena ahead of Billy Joe Saunders making the second defence of his WBO Middleweight World title against Willie Munroe Jr.
Ryan, who is studying for a degree in Sports Science at Loughborough College, won 50 of 60 amateur bouts since his first for the Birmingham Irish club at 12 - captaining an England senior team against Germany and reaching the semi finals in three senior ABA campaigns along the way.
Manager-trainer Tom Chaney is from the same Hall Green gym that moulded British champions Frankie Gavin and Tommy Langford. “I couldn’t believe it when Tom told me my pro debut was on a world title undercard, this was a big show,” said Ryan.
“The Copper Box has a capacity of 7,500 so it’s very different from boxing in leisure centres and clubs. It was on TV too – I had a crew directing me backstage. It was crazy.
“I was nervous. There were lots of people to impress. Also, as an amateur I boxed in a vest but you don’t have that as a professional so I felt naked!
“You come out and it’s pitch black then there are these big lights and a huge crowd cheering and shouting. I had 130 fans with me and I was really grateful for that support. It’s hard to take it all in but it was an amazing atmosphere – such an adrenaline rush. I can’t wait to do it again.”
Ryan defeated opponent Jack Davies and says his aim is to stay unbeaten over his first year. “But it’s about getting that experience too. I want to be tested.
“It’s like with my degree. I wanted to push myself but I wasn’t confident academically at first and although I was still amateur it was a lot to take on. But Loughborough College has been brilliant. They’ve been really flexible and supportive so I’ve been able to for example take up the opportunity of an intense training camp and then dig into my degree. Now I’m just starting my second year and I’ve had some good grades. I’m proud of myself. Even though I’ve turned pro I’ve got no doubt that with that backing from the College I can build on my success.”
After boxing heavyweight in the amateurs Ryan enters Britain’s blossoming professional light heavyweight division 85 kilos lighter than at his first bout seven years ago.
“I used to eat healthily but had big meals. Now I can’t do that and I do miss my food. I’ve lost nearly two stone - and the fitter I get the harder my trainer pushes me. But I think light heavyweight will be good for me. I’ll have more time to settle into a fight. I’m a 6ft 2 box-fighter whose best attributes are my speed and footwork.
“Hopefully my next professional fight will be in November. I want to be going for titles next year. There’ll be lots of hard work and early nights but I’m staying focused. I want to be a world champion.”
Pictured: Loughborough College’s Ryan Hatton at his professional boxing debut in London with (from left) second cornerman Rich Lomas, brother Niall Hatton and coach Tom Chaney
Elizabeth Udall, Communications Consultant:
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