Hatton relinquishes IBF light welterweight belt

Feb 11, 2007 - 5:17 AM By Phil Barnett Special to PA SportsTicker

Ricky Hatton has vacated his IBF light welterweight title for the second time in a year to release himself for a blockbuster showdown with Mexican Jose Luis Castillo.

The Mancunian, 28, had been expected to relinquish the title rather than face his mandatory challenger, South African journeyman Lovemore N'Dou.

And Fight Academy promoter Dennis Hobson confirmed the International Boxing Federation were informed Friday night that Hatton - who won the title against Kostya Tszyu in 2005 before dropping it to move up to welterweight and winning it back from Juan Urango last month - will hand the title back again.

"We informed the IBF by letter Friday night that we are moving on to the super-fight with Castillo in June without the IBF title," Hobson said.

"Ricky is very proud to be a two-time IBF champion and, speaking as a promoter, the IBF have always been great to work with. This is a decision we'd have preferred not to have had to make but, having thought long and hard about it, I believe this is the best way forward for Ricky."

Hobson claimed Hatton's camp was open to offers with regards a clash with N'Dou but insists the Australia-based fighter's team were not forthcoming.

"We could have done business and reached an agreement," Hobson said. "We had all week and I'd already spoken to my broadcast partners about working something out. I had a venue in mind and had spoken to them, too.

"Being totally honest, a fight with N'Dou would have been a hard sell to HBO and the American fight fans but I was prepared to explore the possibility. "Unfortunately, N'Dou's people weren't exactly ringing my phone off the hook trying to make something happen."

Hobson said Hatton is looking forward to his next challenge.

"Ricky now moves forward to the biggest fight of his career, defending his IBO, Ring and linear world titles against the undisputed number one challenger Castillo," Hobson said. "It will be one of the biggest and most exciting fights in years and we will learn who is the ultimate warrior at lightwelter."

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