Shannon taking Hatton back to roots

Ricky Hatton takes on Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday night

Ricky Hatton takes on Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday night

First published in National Sport © by

Trainer Bob Shannon has taken Ricky Hatton back to the future in order to engineer a successful ring return as he takes on Ukrainian welterweight Vyacheslav Senchenko at a sold-out Manchester Arena on Saturday night.

The fight is Hatton's first since being blown away in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009. That harrowing evening in Las Vegas, ultimately the trigger for three years of severe personal problems suffered by the self-styled Hitman, was preceded by a chaotic build-up under the guidance of Floyd Mayweather Sr.

Hatton's finest nights, including four world-title triumphs, came under former trainer Billy Graham, and Shannon said: "Billy Graham trained with my father, the late Bob Shannon, at his gym in Salford and we did everything the same - the body bag. They call it the old-school of fighting but the old-school is the best. The best fighters were in the old days anyway."

He went on: "Ricky wanted to go back to those days and that's why he phoned me up to ask me to train him.

"So we've gone back to what used to be good for Ricky. Those days were good for Ricky."

After 25 years as a professional cornerman and highly-respected mainstay of the Manchester boxing scene, Shannon is thrilled to be involved with a fighter the city has taken to its heart more so than any other.

"It's brilliant for me, it's what every trainer dreams of," said the 55-year-old.

"Like a fighter dreams of being world champion, a trainer thrives on 'I'm going to train a world champion' and Ricky Hatton's the biggest name in boxing.

"I've known him since day one when he turned pro with Billy Graham. I've seen all his fights and now I'm his trainer for this big comeback fight, so it's brilliant."

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