Hatton looking to prove himself
Ricky Hatton would love a domestic tear-up with Amir Khan or Kell Brook, but knows he has to prove himself before considering such a fight.
The self-styled 'Hitman' announced on Friday that his first bout since ending his retirement would be against Vyacheslav Senchenko at the Manchester Evening News Arena on November 24.
The 35-year-old Ukrainian is not the big name fight fans will have been craving, although as a former welterweight world champion, he does proved Hatton with as stern a test as he could have wanted on his return to the ring.
It is hard to imagine, however, that those who had sold out the MEN long before Senchenko was even announced will not be slightly disappointed that he has not chosen to battle one of his fellow Brits, namely former world champion Khan or rising star Brook.
Both of their camps have made positive noises about a showdown with Hatton over recent weeks, but according to the 33-year-old, he has to establish himself as a credible force again before he can give the public what they want.
"I want to come back and win world titles. Kell and Amir don't have them yet, but they're world-class fighters," he said.
"Amir has been a world champion and Kell looks like he's going to be one, so absolutely, no doubt (I'd be interested in fighting them).
"People look and say how I've had three years out and have seen better days, but I need to prove that I am worthy of a shot against these people and on November 24 I will do."
Seeing off Senchenko will be no easy task for Hatton, although with a partisan crowd behind him at his favourite arena, he will be widely expected to finish the job.
Easier options were available to him in nine weeks' time, but he insists taking a shortcut back to the big time was never a possibility.
"I always said from the start I wanted to fight someone who was world-ranked and known," he said.
"There were certain opponents mentioned, people like Michael Katsidis and people were excited about him coming, and people such as that, but I think this is a better opponent and I say that with the greatest respect.
"Who knows, they could be further down the line, but for my first fight back, to fight a former world champion, a world-ranked opponent, I think it speaks volumes for what I'm all about. I've never made things easy for myself, I never shirk the best. People said I might want to have an easy one to get my eye back in, but that's not me."
Senchenko suffered the first loss of his 33-fight career in April when he surrendered his welterweight belt to Paulie Malignaggi, the American puncher Hatton saw off in 2008.
The loss still hurts Senchenko, especially as it occurred on his home turf on Donetsk, meaning like Hatton, his last fight was an unsuccessful one.
Having been brutally dismantled by Manny Pacquiao in May 2009, Hatton spiraled out of control, running into drink, drugs and depression before getting his life back on track.
And speaking of why he went for Senchenko, he added: "I have been matched with him at his most dangerous, when he wants to bounce back, the same as me. I like to think fight fans will give me credit for who I have picked."