Next Hatton challenger still unknown

Ricky Hatton’s next opponent is still unknown as his promoters attempt to arrange a defence against IBF mandatory challenger Ben Rabah.

Promoter Dennis Hobson has been “hampered” in his attempts to secure an opponent for Hatton’s second defence, which will be on May 13 at Foxwoods in Connecticut.

The 27-year-old IBF and WBA light-welterweight champion has been the subject of legal action by Frenchman Souleymane M’Baye, who claims to be his rightful challenger.

Several names for the Mancunian’s next opponent have come and gone including Carlos Baldomir, Arturo Gatti and Vivian Harris.

But top IBF contender Rabah is the preferred choice of the Hatton camp, while WBA welterweight champion Luis Collazo and WBA lightweight holder Juan Diaz are also possibilities.

However, Hobson’s Fight Academy must wait for clearance from the IBF to negotiate a match with Rabah, because the governing body are yet to receive confirmation that Hatton is free to fight after M’Baye served an injunction, before withdrawing it last week.

Hobson said: “I’m hoping we’ll hear something in the next 24 hours.

“We’re still working it. What’s happened is we’ve asked one or two opponents, we’re looking at the WBA champion at welterweight (Collazo), Don King’s made us an offer to do something with him.

“We’ve got Juan Diaz champing at the bit, he wants to do it but they’re asking for a bit too much money.

“Then we’ve got the mandatory (Rabah). We’re just clearing it up with the IBF with regards the court case and it’s just filtering through what the decision from the court was. Once that’s through we’ve got clearance to negotiate for the IBF mandatory challenger.

“We’ve been waiting for that for a couple of days but Lindsey Tucker (IBF chairman) sent a letter out on Thursday saying we’d got clearance then on Friday retracting that and said until he gets clearance from the court we can’t negotiate for the mandatory. So that has hampered us a little bit.

“We’ve definitely got one or two opponents in place – credible opponents.

“But the mandatory is the one we’d like to do if at all possible, failing that we’ll get an exception or if the IBF can’t make a decision for us to go through with the mandatory, we’ll do either the lightweight champion or the welterweight champion.”

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