On June 4th 2005, WBU Light Welterweight Champion Ricky ‘Hitman’ Hatton faced the unenviable task of fighting one of The Then Pound for Pound best fighters in the World, the 140lbs IBF Champion Kostya Tszyu. The fight would be held in The Hitman’s Hometown of Manchester, at 2.00am to accommodate the American TV audience. This was of course of no consequence to the 22,000 raucous home support, who’d crammed in to see if their local hero could achieve Mission:Impossible.. Quite honestly, although many believed he could, the popular opinion was that this would be a step too far for Hatton.
The Hitman was coming off the back of some decent victories; notably a sublime performance against Ray Oliveira, becoming the first man to stop Oliveira in the 10th session of their WBU title clash. In contrast, Kostya Tszyu had only had 2 fights since May 2002. That said, Tszyu was the overwhelming favourite and Hatton, barely given a chance by most experts, was the huge underdog.
And so the biggest fight Britain had seen in a decade began, with Hatton making an absolutely blistering start from the opening bell. Two huge left hooks landed in the 1st frame which Hatton clearly took.