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Hatton-Lazcano On Versus

Press present at the City of Manchester Stadium today for the final press conference ahead of Ricky Hatton’s May 24 bout with Juan Lazcano were in no doubt that Saturday’s clash will live up the massive pre-fight expectations. There was a real buzz amongst the dozens of journalists, radio and TV crews present as co-promoter Frank Maloney opened proceedings with the announcement that a further 350 seats were available for the record-breaking event that has already sold 55,000 seats.

Maloney, flanked by Hatton, Lazcano and co-promoters Richard Schaeffer of Golden Boy and Ray Hatton or Punch Promotions, captured the mood of the afternoon when he said that Britain was the perfect place to stage world class boxing events..

“Why go to America when it has been proved that you can sell out top class venues like this in Britain,” said Maloney in reference to British boxing’s surge in popularity.

“Saturday’s massive show has shown beyond any doubt that the British public’s enthusiasm for top-flight boxing remains and that the huge interest in this bout proves that beyond any doubt.”

“I believe this is a lesson to be learned from massive promotions like this,” said Maloney, who was joined at the top table by IBF light-welterweight champion Paul Malignaggi, Lovemore N’Dou, Commonwealth Welterweight champ Craig Watson and Matthew Hatton and their connections.

“The press and PR is as important for boxers of today as boxing itself and the two must go hand in hand if you want to be a star,” Maloney continued.

Press, television and Radio journalists then had the opportunity to interview, film and photograph the fighters inside and then out in the stadium, where preparations are at an advanced stage, and those present openly complimented Saturday’s stunning venue.

Hatton-Lazcano On Versus Saturday

The fighters have arrived in Manchester, England for one of the biggest sporting events to hit the United Kingdom in years and the sound of IBO & Ring Magazine World Junior Welterweight Champion Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton’s (43-1, 31 KOs) theme song can be heard on every street corner.

Fortunately for American fight fans, they too can be part of the mayhem in Manchester when VERSUS televises live on Saturday the spectacular double-header that includes Hatton’s return to the ring against former world title challenger and top rated contender Juan Lazcano, as well as a co-feature bout between IBF World Junior Welterweight Champion Paulie ‘The Magic Man’ Malignaggi in a re-match with rugged South African-Australian battler Lovemore N’Dou.

With an expected 55,000 fans ascending on the City of Manchester Stadium to see the bout live, Hatton, coming off the only loss of his career to pound-for-pound best Floyd Mayweather last December, is ready to show his worldwide fan base, why he is still a great champion.

“It’s great to be back in action and it’s an absolute dream come true to fight at the Manchester City Stadium against a fighter like Lazcano who comes to fight.” said Hatton. “A fight like this can’t fail to be a winner. Also, it’s my way of thanking all of my loyal fans whether they are here in the stadium or watching live in the United States. I can’t wait!”

The VERSUS telecast will begin at a special time of 3:30pm ET/12:30pm PT, marking the first ever collaboration between the network and Golden Boy Promotions. The live fight will be produced and shown in HD where available. The championship doubleheader will be replayed on Sunday, May 25 at 10:00pm ET.

Looking to spoil Hatton’s party is Lazcano (37-4-1, 27 KOs). “I’m here in Manchester but have no fear of Ricky Hatton or his fans,” said Lazcano. “I know I will ‘WOW’ the world on Saturday when I beat Ricky and take his belts from him!”

IBF World Junior Welterweight Champion Malignaggi (24-1, 5 KOs), is fighting for the first time outside of the United States, and has a chance to show a world-wide audience that he is more than just a flashy fighter with a big mouth.

“I am going to razzle and dazzle the 55,000 fans at the City of Manchester Stadium Saturday night and all those watching back in the States will remember why they love to see me fight,” said Malignaggi. “It will be another dominating performance as I plan to outbox and outwork him just like the first fight!”

His opponent N’dou has other plans. “No one can beat me in front of a crowd this big. The last time we fought the referee didn’t let me fight my fight but this time I will take him to school, give him a boxing lesson and he’ll be lucky to last twelve rounds.”

“Homecoming” is promoted by Punch Promotions in association with Golden Boy Promotions and Frank Maloney Promotions. Malignaggi vs. N’Dou is presented in association with DiBella Entertainment.

Ray Hatton Gets It Done In Manchester

Although he isn’t as famous as his fighting sons, Ricky, the world light welterweight champion or Matthew, a British welterweight contender, Ray Hatton is definitely a heavyweight in the boxing business..

While the limelight does occasionally find him, Ray prefers to apply his talents behind the scenes. This week, he has been hard at work with co-promotional partners Frank Maloney and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, finalizing preparations for the biggest boxing show ever to be held in the UK, taking place this Saturday at the sold out 55,000 seat City of Manchester Stadium.

“It’s all gone very, very well,” said Ray of the long labors performed to turn the massive boxing promotion into a reality. “55,000 people, it’s unbelievable, and we confidently can turn around and say it is a sellout. There were just a few hundred tickets that had gone back on sale for a variety of reasons and the last few of those have been snapped up, so without a doubt, there will be 55,000 in the stadium on the night.”

The promotion is being billed as “The Homecoming” with Manchester’s favorite son Ricky Hatton , 43-1 (31), new making his first ring appearance in Britain in almost three years.

The rugged body puncher’s IBO title defense against highly seasoned opponent Juan Lazcano, 37-4-1 (21), has clearly been the driving force behind the enormous ticket sales, but the inclusion on the show of flashy American Paulie Malignaggi’s IBF light welter championship rematch with Lovemore N’dou and Matthew Hatton’s bid to unseat Commonwealth champion Craig Watson have only added fuel to the fire.

The Hattons pulled a rare move in modern day boxing by making a conscious decision to walk away from more lucrative opportunities in America in order to base this fightcard in their beloved hometown.

“It’s been a long time since we fought here and if Ricky wins this one, the things we have coming up on the horizon will probably all be based in America, so fighting here at this time was something we felt we had to do,” said Ray. “There’s a lot of excitement here in Manchester and to us, this is a way of paying back the fans.

“It will be nice for all the people watching on TV here and in the stadium because the fights start at 5:30 pm in the stadium and 7:30 on Sky Box Office, rather than much later here when it’s being shown live during prime time in America. So, it is a Brit friendly time and I think that’s a nice part about this, we’ve earmarked it as a way of basically saying, ‘thank you’ to all the fans.”

Standing in the way of this mutual northern affection will be hardened light welterweight Juan Lazcano, an American who has no qualms about walking into the belly of the beast, even if it is inhabited by hostile 55,000 fans.

Lazcano has only lost two contests, a world title fight and a world title eliminator, over the last ten years while crushing the hopes of three former world champions on the comeback trail during that same time span. Ironically, Ricky is trying to mount his own return following a first career loss, handed out by Floyd Mayweather last December in Las Vegas,

“With Ricky having his first defeat, against arguably the best pound for pound fighter on the planet, which is no disgrace, a lot of people would thought that we’d probably have come back against a little bit of a lower key opponent,” said Ray.

“But, I think this is what makes Ricky a little bit special to the fans, in that they know that he doesn’t like to do anything the easy way. So he just said that if he’s going to do it and come back home and put it on a big stage, we wanted a fighter that would ideally give him a really tough fight.

“And obviously, Lazcano, he’s fought all the best and he’s just come narrowly short of winning world titles. He has a great record and he’s never been stopped over the last ten years.”

Team Hatton expect Lazcano to bring out a classic performance from their resident superstar and they hope a win here at home will prime Ricky’s engines for another foray across the pond this Autumn.

“I must admit, as a parent, I would have liked if Ricky had picked someone a little less tough and robust, but this is not what it’s about,” said Ray. “Ricky is the one who decides who he wants to fight and even though this was a comeback fight after a defeat, he just didn’t want the fans feeling that he was taking an easy way out.

“Ricky is only 29 and he’s still got a lot to give, he’s still very talented. He wants to prove that he’s still the man at 140 to beat, not just because The Ring magazine considers him the best in the division, but he wants to prove to everybody else that he’s the man to beat.”

Saturday, May 24, 2008 will feature the biggest selling fight in the history of British boxing, IBO/Ring light welterweight champion Ricky Hatton vs. Juan Lazcano, in front of 55,000 fans at City of Manchester Stadium in Manchester, England on a shared production between Frank Maloney Promotions, Punch Promotions and Golden Boy Promotions.

Chief support features IBF light welter champion Paulie Malignaggi, 24-1 (5), vs. former titlist Lovemore N’dou, 46-9-1 (31), and Commonwealth welterweight champion Craig Watson, 12-2 (4), defending against Matthew Hatton, 33-3-1 (13).

Two other championship fights will be featured with English light middleweight title bout between the champion Andrew Facey, 19-5-1 (6), going against Manchester’s Thomas McDonagh, 31-1-2 (6), and Liverpool’s Mark Moran, 9-0-1 (2), squaring off with Danny Wallace, 12-4-1 (6), for the vacant English super bantamweight title.

Two-time British light middleweight champion Jamie Moore, 28-3 (19), also sees action on the card, facing Esau Herrera,14-3-1 (6), of Mexico City in an eight rounder.

Doors open at 5:00PM with the first fight at 5:30PM. Sky Box Office will televise live commencing at 7:30PM.

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