UK boxer ‘disrespecting me in my own backyard’

2013-03-02 09:27

The battle lines have been drawn ahead of Chris “The Heat” van Heerden’s fight against Matthew “Magic” Hatton for the International Boxing Organisation (IBO) welterweight title.

Yesterday, during the final weigh-in at the Sandton Convention Centre where the fight takes place tonight, Hatton publicly refused to shake Van Heerden’s hand.

“Hatton is disrespecting me in my own backyard, this is unsportsmanlike behaviour and (tonight night) I will teach him a lesson of how to respect fellow sportsmen,” said a clearly irritated Van Heerden.

“People shouldn’t be surprised when I stop this man (tonight), what he just did will boost my self-esteem to knock him out cold.”

The UK-born Hatton fired back that he was not in South Africa to make friends. He said: “I am not obliged to shake anybody’s hands, I’m here to get the job done and go back to England.”

Magic, whose big brother Ricky “The Hitman” Hatton prides himself on being among the best boxers Europe has ever produced, rubbished claims he is having it tough trying to match his brother’s standards.

“Ricky has had a fantastic career and a great following but I have never tried to compare myself to him, I wanted to be a world champion long before Ricky became a boxing star,” said Matthew.

The Heat – who has vowed to make sure the title stays in SA – could win the fight. But lack of experience in comparison with his rival may count against him.

Van Heerden’s record reads: 18 wins, one loss and one draw, while his foe in 51 contests has won 43, lost six and drawn two.

Hatton and Van Heerden will star in what is expected to be a cracker of a five-bout bill promoted by Showpony Promotions and to be broadcast live on SuperSport DStv Channel 202.

The undercard includes:

» Elvis “The Elevator” Moyo vs. Osborne “Big Daddy” Machimana – heavyweight (six rounds)

» Kaizer “The Animal” Mabuza vs. Isaac “The Angel” Hlatshwayo – welterweight (eight rounds)

» Matty “Magic” Clarkson vs. Tshepang “The Gentleman” Mohale – light heavyweight (10 rounds)

» Lobanda Batale vs. Mthobisi “The Terminator” Buthelezi

The event is scheduled to start at 7.30pm.

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