Kell Brook will face Matthew Hatton on March 17 in Sheffield. (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
As was rumored, a fight between Kell Brook and Matthew Hatton has been signed and set for March 17 in Sheffield. The fight was officially announced at a press conference moments ago. The fight will be carried in the UK by Sky Sports.
Brook (26-0, 18 KO) has emerged as the top UK welterweight out there, and with few major step-up options available, he's taking a big-time domestic fight with Hatton (42-5-2, 16 KO), the former European welterweight champion who vacated that post last year to take a shot at Canelo Alvarez in Los Angeles, a fight he lost but gained him some respect for his performance.
Hatton, 30, last fought in August, defeating Andrei Abramenka with ease, as he was expected to do when the fight was signed. He was hoping in recent months that his backing from big brother Ricky's company Hatton Promotions would land him an eliminator fight for a major title, but that fell through and put him publicly at odds with his promoter.
This fight may help make up for that, because an upset win here would put Hatton at a higher level of legitimate contention than he has ever been in his career.
The 25-year-old Brook is himself looking to get right in line for a major title shot after this, as that was his main goal in leaving Frank Warren for the upstart Matchroom Boxing outfit led by Eddie Hearn. He went 3-0 in 2011 for Matchroom, defeating Lovemore N'dou, Rafal Jackiewicz, and Luis Galarza.
Brook will go in as a pretty heavy favorite, as I think everyone can agree he's a far more talented fighter, but Hatton is always game and never rolls over. It's about as good a fight as could be expected for Brook right now, as the welterweight picture remains a bit murky with the top two dogs calling all of the shots, Victor Ortiz and Andre Berto fighting one another on February 11, and then a mass of fighters all on about the same level, either because they're not capable of going higher, or because they aren't getting the chance just yet.