Campbell Hatton has revealed he has enlisted the help of another son of a boxing legend as he looks to prove his doubters wrong and become a superstar.
And he says he has given him one key piece of advice – ‘ignore the critics!’
Campbell, the son of Manc Boxing hero Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton, is gearing up for his sixth professional fight, on the undercard of Lawrence Okolie’s world title defense against Michal Cieslak.
It’s taking place at the 02 Arena – hastily repaired after storm damage to the roof – on Sunday evening.
READ MORE: Campbell Hatton next fight vs Joe Ducker and how to watch on Okolie vs Cieslak card
And, ahead of the bout, 21-year-old novice Campbell, trained by his uncle, Ricky’s brother and fellow former pro Matthew Hatton, says he has been working with boxer Conor Benn, son of the legendary ‘Dark Destroyer’ Nigel Benn, who he says has now become a friend.
“He’s done a lot for me in my career. I’ve had loads of great advice off him,” Campbell, known as ‘The Hurricane’, told the Manchester Evening News.
“I’ve been training with him, Tony Simms and all the lads down there.
“Matthew is one of those coaches who doesn’t have an issue with me picking up little things here and there and getting all the advice I can.
“I got some rounds in with (British lightweight champion) Joe Cordina, I don’t think you can get much better sparring than that.”
After an inauspicious start to his career, Conor has become one of British boxing’s rising stars – a blueprint Campbell Hatton says he hopes to follow.
“I think my career and his career are going to be very similar really,” he said.
“We’re both fairly inexperienced amateurs and we are learning on the job.
“He’s overcome that and is now pushing through the other side at fringe world level.
“I can see myself going the same way with my work ethic.
“He’s just told me to ignore the criticism really. He said they’re not the ones living it. They don’t go in there and take the punches, it’s easy from your sofa to start criticizing. So he said ‘don’t let that get you down and keep working hard and doing your own thing’.”
Lightweight Campbell, part of promoter Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom stable along with Conor, admitted that advice had proved invaluable, as he had to develop a thick skin following the backlash to his last fight in Britain.
Campbell earned a tight and contentious points win in a six round bout against Spanish journeyman Sonni Martinez on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s defeat to Oleksandr Usyk at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last September.
Many fans and pundits felt he undeservedly had his hand raised, and he admits the reaction was tough to take.
“It was hard. I had time off social media and deleted everything,” he said. “As much as people say they don’t read the comments it’s impossible not to see them sometimes.
“There’s more people picking my fights apart than some of the top fighters in the country.
“You go on their Instagram, there’s a lot more criticism if you go on mine then any of those.
“People at this stage of their career don’t normally get that, they can afford to have their learning fights and mediocre performances where they’re not at their best, and no one knows about it.
“That’s how they improve. Whereas I’m doing it on show for everyone.”
Campbell, who hails from and lives in Tameside and has a three-year-old daughter, disagrees with those who claim he lost, but admits the occasion did get to him and ultimately affected his performance.
“It sort of hit me on the ring walk, to be honest” he said.
“All the build-up around it, I thought I dealt with it fine.
“But when I walked out the tunnel it was probably the first time I’d seen a big crowd like that. Because even though I’ve been on massive shows before, the actual attendance in the venues was always really low. That was my first full capacity show and it just wasn’t any full capacity show.
“I think we just underestimated how big an occasion and how big the crowd was and it was a bit of a shock to the system.
“Matthew said he could spot it in the corner, he could see when I was on the stool and he was giving me instructions it just wasn’t going in. He said it was like talking to a brick wall
“It weren’t a good performance. And we’ve all looked back and learned from it as a team really.
“The show was a great opportunity for me and a massive platform.
“Obviously we were buzzing with that. And I was quite high up the card.
“But we’ve probably learned it was probably a little bit much.
“Being on these big shows is great for me, it is something we like to do, and it is a road we’d still like to go down. But we’d like to sort of get a mixture of the two now.
“Where we’ll have these big shows we’ll also have a couple of quieter shows where I can go away and there’s no pressure and I can learn away from all the eyes.
“Realistically, at the stage of my career I’m at, it’s not realistic to expect me to be that high on the card and still perform at my best under that pressure. And I think if we get that balance we’ll have cracked Item.”
His last performance was the perfect example, securing a second-round stoppage against Attila Csereklye on the card of a much more low-key show, in Bilbao, Spain in December.
“It was definitely the best performance of my career,” Campbell said.
“I always used to start fights quite calm and then, when I had a bit of success, I would start rushing things and forcing stuff, which was my own downfall.
“In Bilbao because that pressure wasn’t there, even though I was eager to please, I wasn’t over-eager, and I just went in and did the things that I do every day in the gym. It was a completely different fight.”
Campbell is hoping for more of the same when he takes on 36-year-old Joe Ducker, who is coming off the back of two wins, on Sunday night.
“It’s a step up,” he said.
“He’s got a winning record, but I think that will get the best out of me. Sometimes when you’re in against a negative opponent, sometimes it makes things a lot harder and it can make you force things, which has been my downfall .
“I’ve got that stoppage out of the way which isn’t on my mind anymore. And I think I’ve now shown myself what I am capable of when I am taking my time and not rushing things. So there’s no going back now.
“I’m not going to revert back to the old Campbell.”
“This is a bigger show at the 02,” he added.
“But I think in the grand scheme of things it will make me better.
“Because there’s that bit more pressure on me to perform and be at my best every time due to the backlash I’ll face after it if I’m not.”
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.