Former Two-Time World Champion and British superstar Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton returns to SHOWTIME® for his first fight in 3½ years when he faces former WBA welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday, Nov. 24, at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England, live at 5 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).
The scheduled 10-round welterweight fight will be a special, afternoon edition of SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING followed by a replay that night on SHOWTIME EXTREME®.
This will be the first comeback fight for Hatton, the offensive-minded 34-year-old slugger, since he retired following his loss to Manny Pacquiao on May 2, 2009, with a record of 45-2 with 32 KOs.
Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs) is a risky opponent who went undefeated in 31 fights before losing the WBA Welterweight World Title to Paulie Malignaggi in his most recent outing last April 29. The bout in Hatton’s hometown will be only the third professional Senchenko fight outside his native Ukraine.
“This is a very dangerous opponent for a so-called comeback fight,” said Stephen Espinoza, Executive Vice President and General Manager of SHOWTIME Sports. “Ricky is showing us that he wants to challenge himself and immediately put himself back in the mix with the top 147 pounders. There are a number of exciting matchups in this division, and with a win Ricky will be right back in upper echelon of the division.”
One of Britain’s all-time most popular fighters, the crowd-pleasing Hatton is a former IBF and WBA 140-pound champion and WBA 147-pound titlist. Eighteen thousand tickets were purchased for the Nov. 24 event even before an opponent was announced.
Hatton battled depression, suicidal thoughts and ballooning weight after going into a self-imposed exile following the loss to Pacquiao three-and-a-half-years-ago.
“People ask if I should come back, will I win, can I be world champ again. They don’t get it,’’ Hatton said. “I’ve already won. I’m here. I saved myself. The end of the ‘Ricky Hatton Story’ was not being knocked out by Pacquiao. I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and showing what I can do. I want to get back in the title mix, but you can’t do that by taking easy fights. That’s why I’m taking on this guy.’’
Hatton will be fighting for the 10th time on SHOWTIME, and the seventh time on SHOWTIME CHAMPIONSHIP BOXING (he fought three times on ShoBox: The New Generation). He registered the most noteworthy victory of his career in his last appearance on the network when he captured the IBF 140-pound title with an 11th-round TKO over Hall of Famer Kosta Tszyu on June 4, 2005, in Manchester.
If triumphant on Nov. 24, his first fight in 42½ months, Hatton could be looking at several high-profile return bouts in the near future, including a rematch with Malignaggi, the current WBA welterweight champion, who Hatton defeated via 11th-round TKO on Nov. 22, 2008.