As the bell sounded to start the 10th Round, The Champion had the beginnings of a look of a beaten man, while in contrast, Hatton still bouncing on his toes like he was in the 1st, produced what was his best round of the night, in and out from range and landing some big shots. By the end of the round, Hatton was now in front on all judges scorecards and this was his fight to lose, leading into the Championship rounds.. Could the local lad really beat the World No2 Pound for Pound fighter?
As the crowd raised the roof for the bell of the 11th, Kostya Tszyu, Knew he could leave nothing in the ring and gave one last show of defiance. It would prove to be not enough, as he trudged his weary legs back to his stool. Tszyu, Great Champion signalled he could no longer continue and did not answer the bell for the 12th and final round. Cue utter mayhem as the 22,000 crowd went crazy, mirrored by the celebrations and tears of joy inside the ring from Hatton and his trainer Billy ‘The Preacher’ Graham.
Great respect was shown from both men to the other
Hatton now on 39-0 told the crowd “if I can do half as well as this Great Champion, I’ll be doing very well,” while Tszyu claimed “I have nothing to be ashamed of, I lost to the better man”. Tszyu would indeed never fight again, but goes down as one of the greatest Light Welterweights of all time, while this would become The Hitman’s career defining fight and his (and Manchesters.?) Greatest ever night.
The fight was awarded The Ring Upset of the Year, and goes down as one of the Greatest upsets ever seen in a Ring on British Soil. What a truly remarkable night and from a personal point of view one of my all time favourite moments in Boxing History.