Ricky Hatton excited by Brett McGinty's star potential but urges his Irish protégé to bide his time

RICKY HATTON is in no doubt that Brett McGinty possesses the style, skill set and mentality to reach the highest level in the paid ranks but despite his gutsy pro debut victory, ‘The Hitman’ has warned his eager Irish protégé to display patience.

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 5:46 pm
Brett McGinty receives his final instructions from trainer, Ricky Hatton ahead of his professional debut last December. Photograph by Christopher Dean for Hennessy Sports.

The two-weight world boxing champion has taken the all-action former Oak Leaf ABC light middleweight under his wing at his Greater Manchester gym and believes the ambitious McGinty is cut from the same cloth as himself.

It seems the perfect boxer-trainer alliance with Hatton recognising the same ‘heart’, ‘determination’ and explosive style in McGinty, which so endeared him to boxing fans around the world during his legendary career.

And while he has no doubts over McGinty’s ability and fan-friendly style, Hatton has urged the hard-hitting Donegal man to bide his time and have faith in the process.

“I think Brett has everything - the potential, the skill, the style, the personality,” said Hatton. “All he needs is to be just given a little bit of time so that can all be nurtured. Regular fights which is what Mick (Hennessey) is doing for him, different styles of opponent.

“People always seemed to like my style of fighting, just like they’re going to like Brett’s, and I think they’ll like his personality. The more they see him, the more he’s out there. Brett will tell you himself, you’ve got to have a bit of a sense of humour to come through the front door of my gym. I mean, nobody trains harder than us in that gym but it’s got to be fun, it’s got to be a laugh.

“People liked me because of my style but I think they also liked Ricky Hatton for Ricky Hatton the person. I wasn’t full of bull***t, I didn’t sing my own praises, I never slagged off opponents. I always had a joke, a smile here and there. As well as entertaining people in the ring, I entertained them with what came out of my mouth, didn’t I? And I think Brett is very, very similar.

“When he first came over, he was a little bit of the shy type but bit by bit, he’s coming out of his shell more and, certainly, down the line, I think they (the fans) will like that.

“And he’s very fortunate at such a young age to be appearing on Channel 5 where people are seeing him. That helps him build a fan base not just in Ireland but in the UK as well. I think they’ll love him in every way.

“That’s the type of attitude he’s got,” added Hatton. “He’s got the same type of attitude as me. He’s got the same style as me. He’s just got to slow it down a bit, about 10 mile per hour, have faith in the people looking after him and just do his job when he gets the chance.”

After a frustrating, Covid-enforced delay to his career in the paid game, the talented 22 year-old puncher finally made his professional bow in a six rounder against late replacement Jan Ardon last December in Redditch. It was a dangerous opponent and one Hatton wasn’t too keen on but the Mancunian reckons that tough 59-56 points victory will stand his fighter in good stead.

McGinty returns to the ring on May 22nd for his second pro fight against journeyman Jordan Grannum (5-73-2) over four rounds on Mick Hennessy’s Channel 5 televised show at Skydome in Coventry, headlined by Sam Egginton and Carlos Molina’s WBC Silver middleweight championship fight.

Hatton believes the durable Grannum is a more suitable opponent for McGinty at such an early juncture in his career but he admits he had to work hard to convince the impatient Oak Leaf graduate it was the right man at the right time.

“He wants to impress everybody,” continued Hatton. “His debut was a bit tougher in the ring than we would’ve all wanted it to be but he’s better for that and you’re going to see that on May 22nd.

“I told Brett I didn’t want the fight (against Jan Ardon). Brett had not boxed for a long time. It was a long time since his last amateur fight. He had come over to Manchester, away from his family, his loved ones, and because of Covid and the lockdown his medical seemed to take forever to get through. It was an absolute nightmare. It was a very frustrating time for Brett.

“Brett had actually sparred with him (Ardon) and done really, really well. So Brett said to me; ‘No, no I can’t take any more disappointments. I really want to fight’, so we flew with it.

“He was a tougher opponent than I thought but Brett showed his guts, his determination; he showed his heart and he came through it. This time he wanted a better opponent but he’s already had that side and far more of a fight than he should’ve had.

“I’ve said to him it won’t be long before we’ll have plenty of tough fights for you. Learn your trade first. Put a couple of hours in the bank. Get the experience and learn. Once you’ve ticked a few more boxes then we’ll go for a test, that’s how it goes.

“I understand it can be frustrating as I can see his potential. You have to take that learning as you go along. You have to improve opposition, improve stamina, heart, desire. Brett already ticks a lot of those boxes. I don’t want him ticking those boxes on his debut, I want him reaching them as we go along.

“His debut at six rounds, it was very tough but it will have done him the world of good. Knocking a guy out seconds in, there is no learning in that. It was a tough opponent for him but, again, there is no rush going forward. My intention is to keep moving him slowly, slowly as we go along. Small but important steps.

“When we feel the need to move up a level we’ll do that. And we’ll know ourselves when that time is right. Brett has confidence in the people behind him.”

McGinty has been fine-tuning his skills over the past five months and Hatton is looking forward to watching him put it all together in the ring next week.

“He has a very similar style to me, a good TV style. He’s a good, attacking fighter but I think we’ve removed a piece of cardboard out of his back now. He’s rolling from the waist and moving his head and bending his knees a little bit more. He had all that before, but now he has a little bit more rhythm, a little bit more subtlety in his attacks which has made him an even better fighter. He listens and he learns.

“He’s not just got a style like myself, he’s got an attitude like myself. He’s got to go through these fights first. And the fact(Grannum) hasn’t been stopped in so many fights gives him a chance to go through his repertoire and show everyone what he’s all about really. With each fight, we want to show improvement. I’m looking forward to Brett putting on a good show.”

Watch Brett McGinty live and free on Channel 5 on Saturday May 22nd