Ricky Hatton Confirms His Retirement

RICKY HATTON has confirmed he is hanging up his gloves. The former two-weight world champion has not fought for over two years after he was knocked out in two rounds by Manny Pacquiao in Las Vegas. Hatton's decision brings to a close one of the most successful careers in British boxing as he dominated the light-welterweight division and then moved up to welter. He admitted the decision to turn his back on the sport that has made him a multi-millionaire and one of the biggest ever box office draws had caused him many sleepless nights. The Hitman, who packed out arenas all around the world and set TV box office records, said: "After a lot of soul searching over the last couple of years I have finally decided to confirm I will never box again and there will be no coming back. "There have been so many times since the Pacquiao fight when I have woken up and thought, 'I will give it one more go', but it was not to be." Hatton, 32, hit the heights with a sensational stoppage against Kostya Tszyu in his home town of Manchester to lift his first world title - the IBF world light-welterweight crown. But two attempts to show he belonged with the best pound-for-pound fighters in the business ended in misery against Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather Jnr - the only two defeats on his 47-fight record. However, the build-up to both bouts was marred with behind-the-scenes bickering with trainers Billy Graham and Floyd Mayweather Snr. Hatton added: "There have been amazing highs and although I always wanted to be a world champion I went beyond my wildest dreams. "Beating Kostya Tszyu was my greatest triumph, but there were plenty of other great nights and memories. "Defeating Jose Luis Castillo, unifying the light-welterweight title against Carlos Maussa, winning a world welterweight title when I fought Luis Collazo, beating Jon Thaxton to become British champion, fighting in front of almost 60,000 fans on Manchester City's ground. "It seems endless and when I look at my record the only men to beat me were Manny and Floyd - still number one and two in the pound-for-pound lists on the day I retire." Hatton will remain heavily involved with boxing - the sport he took up as an youngster - and has been concentrating on his new career as a promoter. But hardcore fans will be saddened at his decision as they always nurtured the hope they would see him back in the ring one more time. He said: "Since I put on the gloves as a 10-year-old in Hattersley, boxing has been my life and it still is. "My promotional company is going well and I am looking forward to taking one of my fighters on a similar road to me. "People say no fighter will ever have the fan base I had, but one of my aims is to make sure one of my boxers gets a bigger one and achieves more than me."Hatton admits he has leaned heavily on his family for support as he struggled to bridge the gap between a fighter who was always in the limelight to disappearing under a widely publicised drug shame. He added: "There are so many people I want to thank for supporting me throughout my career and who made The Hitman's journey possible. "My family were there for me every step of the way, my mum and dad, brother Matthew, my amateur trainers Ted Peate and Paul Dunne who taught me to box, my agent Paul Speak, my lawyer Gareth Williams, the British Boxing Board of Control and everybody at Hatton Promotions." Hatton has carefully pieced his life back together and vowed never to go back down the dark road that almost engulfed him. He said: "Away from boxing, I have so much to look forward to. My son Campbell is a boy any parent would be proud to call his lad and is growing up so fast I wonder where the years have gone. "I am about to become a dad for the second time and that cannot happen quickly enough. Jennifer and I are so excited." Hatton's fans rewrote the rules for backing fighters when they turned up the volume and made his rivals envious of the support he could command wherever he fought. And he paid tribute to those who followed him around the globe as well as at home. Hatton said: "As bigger thanks as any must go to the fans that would never stop singing and so often turn Las Vegas into a corner of England. "Thank you all, but the fighting in the ring is over and I look forward to seeing old friends and meeting new friends on my journey as a promoter."