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Boxing | International

'There must be a champ in Asia'



Former world champion Ricky Hatton hopes to find a world champion in Asia.

"This is such a successful, big part of the world and nobody here does boxing,” The Briton said in Hong Kong on Wednesday.

"The law of averages says there must be talent here and I'd like to raise the profile of boxing out here.

"Boxing is a massive passion for me and there's nothing I'd like better than to be the first promoter to bring a world champion through to this part of the world; to give people someone to be proud of, like the fans were of me."

Hatton is homing in on the region in the hope of unearthing a few champions.

The former world light-welterweight and welterweight champion was knocked out on his return to the ring last month. Now he insists he will not be coming out of retirement again.

He staged a night of boxing in Hong Kong on Tuesday under the Asia-Pacific arm of Hatton Promotions, which has an office in the southern Chinese city.

Hatton hopes to get some measure of the satisfaction he got in the ring from finding new talent. "I'll try to live my dreams through other boxers," he said.

"There is such a fantastic sporting heritage here," he added. “They have mixed martial arts, which is very popular. I am a little flabbergasted that boxing isn't so popular. That's something I am hoping to change.

He is on his third visit to Hong Kong, where he saw a local boxer, Rex Tso, win the vacant WBC Asia Continental flyweight title.

He intends to begin his search in mainland China, which is beginning to emerge as a force in amateur boxing.

"Whatever you do, you must be able to walk before you can run. I hope this is the start of something," Hatton said about the prospect of going into mainland China one day.

"I'd feel very proud if I can say that Ricky Hatton came to Hong Kong and brought a fighter through to a world title level and made the country proud, just like I like to think I did with my fans.

"Boxing has given me and my family such a wonderful life and I'd like to pass that on to some other youngster. I hope it will be someone from Asia. That would be another box ticked in the Ricky Hatton story."



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