Campbell Hatton will be back fighting in Manchester this Saturday night as he aims to go 12 unbeaten when he takes on Michal Bulik on the Mauricio Lara vs Leigh Wood II undercard.
Campbell, son of the legendary Ricky Hatton, has been in fine form since launching his boxing career and he sat down with the Manchester Evening News to talk about his journey so far. Hatton delved into how he deals with pressure and how scaling back and relocating helped him navigate the scrutiny he faced after fighting on the Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk undercard in 2021.
Following the points victory over Sonni Martinez at the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, after which father Ricky took to social media to defend his son, Hatton decided to change tact. He has since admitted the fallout from that bout got under his skin, but he now insists he’s able to deal with any criticism and has matured, not only as a fighter, but also as a person.
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Saturday’s clash at the AO Arena comes with the added pressure of being a hometown fight but Hatton believes, despite the occasion, it’ll be business as usual.
The 22 year-old said: “Early on in my career where I struggled to deal with expectation, I think I’m better equipped to deal with that now. Coming up to my twelfth fight I’m just more mature as a fighter, as a person and all around really. I’m just treating it as any other fight, I am that little more excited as it’s the local show and I’ll have all my friends and family there, and all the city behind me, but as far as nerves go it’s no different than the last one.”
Hatton, who is coming into the Bulik clash off the back of a knock-out victory over Louis Fielding in April, has admitted that adjusting to the weight of expectation and the brutality of the criticism he faced in the wake of the Martinez win, made him and his team seek out a quieter environment, and so team Hatton took to Bilbao, Spain where he began to relieve the pressure he faced and regroup.
He said: “I think I really struggled with it early on when I was eager to perform and because I knew there was an expectation on me and I experienced quite early on how brutal and over the top the criticism can be. I was eager to perform well to the point where I was tensing up and trying too hard.”
Campbell speaks with an honesty and a composure that you would expect from a professional twice his age and he was happy to open up about the mistakes he believes he and his team made when he was just a 19 year-old walking out at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for the Martinez fight.
He said: “One you’ve done something once before and it isn’t new to you, you are always going to deal with it better and you learn from your mistakes. Even though it’s a big stage for me and, obviously there’s the pressure of it being in Manchester, just as a team we have the benefit of our past mistakes. At Tottenham there were about 60,000 when I was making my ring walk and looking back as a team we thought, yeah that shouldn’t have been allowed to happen and we won’t let it happen again.”
Campbell knows he’s in for a tough match-up against southpaw, Bulik but he’s confident he and his team have got their preparation just right ahead of his encounter with the Polish fighter:
He added: “This is the first camp where we’ve had real instructions I’m going to have to follow as, even though we do always look at the opponent, this fight will be my first southpaw (opponent) as a professional and looking at his style he’s aggressive and looks strong so we have specific things we’re working on, but I’m really confident.”
Hatton’s fight comes at a big time for sport in the city with Manchester City on the verge of an historic treble and the all Manchester FA Cup Final between United and City on the horizon. Hatton has acknowledged the upbeat vibe in the city lately and hopes he can carry on the sporting success the city is currently basking in. Just like his dad, Hatton is a huge City fan and he believes the Blues are well set to clinch their first European Cup on June 10 in Istanbul.
“It’s in our nature as City fans to be a bit doom and gloom as we always like to do things the hard way like QPR that time and Villa last year,” he said. “I am really confident, it’s never a foregone conclusion and anything can happen on the day but if we’re not beating Inter after beating Munich and Madrid we’re never going to do it.”
You can watch Campbell Hatton take on Mikal Bulak on the Lara vs Woods II undercard live on DAZN on Saturday, May 27 from 7pm. Yon can sign up for a year at £9.99 a month and save £120 or get a flexible pass for £19.99 a month. You can also get the Annual Super Saver for £99.99 whuch will save you £139.89. You can choose your package and sign up to DAZN here.