Campbell Hatton is a different fighter ahead of Benn Vs Van Heerden

Ricky Hatton, multiple-time world champion and one of the UK’s finest boxers with a record of 45 and three, seems to have passed his talents on to his son.

Campbell Hatton is just 21 and, ahead of his fight on April 16, has amassed a promising record of his own at six and zero.

When he spoke to the Daily Star he was just days away from the fight, a homecoming on the card of Conor Benn vs Chris van Heerden.

As a boy from Manchester, he would often go down to the city's AO Arena to watch local fighters like Anthony Crolla and Josh Warrington ply their trade. Now though, he’s the one who’ll be “[putting] on a show on for the local fans”, stepping into the ring in search of a seventh victory.

“I think it’s every Manchester boxer’s dream to box at the AO Arena and on Saturday it’s my turn, so I'm really excited.”

He’s already fought once this year, beating Britain’s Joe Ducker by technical knockout, but his career so far hasn't always been easy.

In September 2021, Campbell was on the undercard of Joshua Vs Usyk at the massive Tottenham Hotspur stadium in front of a huge crowd.

“It was crazy. I think when I boxed there were 55-60,000 in there,” he said.

“It was a surreal experience really, especially so early on in my career, and I think it probably did affect my performance on the night where I was a bit taken aback by it all.

"But I think down the line it will stand me in good stead, because going forward in my career I’ll probably never box in a venue with more people than that, so it sort of prepares me well for every fight I go into.”

He won the fight but it was under something of a cloud, with some people left thinking his opponent Sonni Martinez should have won.

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Speaking on TalkSport after the fight, Gareth A Davies made his feelings clear, saying Hatton “got bullied around the ring for six rounds and the referee, Marcus MacDonald, gave it to him”.

But despite the negative comments, Campbell seems unfazed seven months on with two more wins – through KO and TKO – under his belt.

“I feel like a completely different fighter. I think when I was watching my fights and watching me in the gym, the two weren't really tallying up together.”

He says both he and his cornerman Matt knew eventually the performances he was putting in in the ring would start looking more like the performances they knew he could deliver from the gym. What it took was a step away from the spotlight and packed-out English stadiums to start to fully find his rhythm.

“I think [because of] the pressure of everything going on around it and the spotlight I was under, I was a bit over-eager, which was stopping me from performing.”

It took a trip to Bilbao in Spain and a matchup with Attila Csereklye to start fighting in the ring the way he knew he could.

“I put in my best performance of my career up to that time and I sort of showed myself what I can be like when I relax and don't put that pressure on myself.”

The fight earned him his first win by knockout, something he feels could only have come with time and patience.

“I think previous to that I was forcing my work and trying to get that stoppage when it wasn’t quite ready and I think that's probably the main reason why I wasn't getting the stoppage – because I was trying too hard.”

Now though, he’s turning his attention to this weekend’s fight, one that he’s expected to win (bookies have him at 1/18 at the time of writing). After so many fights on the road, the prospect of fighting in front of his loved ones has got Campbell excited.

“This is the first one where I can have loads of my friends and family here and everyone’s been able to really jump on it," he went on.

“Everyone's been desperate for it. Near us where we live everyone's been saying ‘can't wait to get to one of your fights, when is it going to be local and when am I gonna be able to go?’ Now everyone’s absolutely buzzing.”

Despite all the excitement, he refuses to speculate about the result, saying “I don't want to start throwing predictions in”.

He added: “I don't want to put too much pressure on myself and try and force stoppages and things like that – it never comes.

“I'm just gonna let things happen and enjoy.”

The fight is against Ezequiel Gregores, an eleventh-hour switch from his scheduled opponent Liam Glover, who pulled out last-minute with an injury.

Despite the change, he says he’s “just happy to be boxing”.

He continued: “It's another obstacle in my career I'm going to have to adjust to now.

“It's all good experience for me and I'm confident that I'm going to put in another good performance.”

For Hatton the sky’s the limit, seeing no ceiling on where he could end up – but even he’s aware that the road could be long.

“I think I can get to the top level and fight for world titles. I don't think it will happen overnight and it's gonna take a few years of perseverance and hard work but I'm confident I can get there eventually.

“At the minute I'm just looking to be as busy as I can really – getting that experience under my belt and improving.

“This is my seventh fight in 12 months, so if I can be as busy in the next twelve months as the last then I can’t really ask for much better.”

Campbell Hatton will take on Ezequiel Gregores as part of Conor Benn vs Chris van Heerden.

Watch the coverage of the event from 5:45pm on Saturday, April 16 on DAZN. Subscription costs £7.99 per month.

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