Campbell Hatton - "I'm not my dad who boxed for world titles - I'm learning on the job under the spotlight"

Campbell Hatton's journey is very different from his famous father's - and continues on Saturday night.
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Campbell Hatton sees all the social media comments. From the accounts joking he’s about to fight the biggest names in the sport to those taking aim at his latest performance and making it crystal clear just how far away he is from the heights his dad hit under those bright Manchester lights. 

Ricky’s lad was just 20 when he turned professional back in March 2021 as a relative novice. Fast forward three years and he fights for his first title when he challenges Central Area super lightweight champion Jimmy Joe Flint at the Sheffield Arena on Saturday night. 

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In the 36 six months since he entered the paid ranks with a big splash and a famous surname, the tweets and Instagram messages have kept coming, maybe even intensified. But now a father of a five-year-old, Lyla, and a more mature operator in the ring, Hatton junior knows how to handle things better. 

Campbell Hatton on his way to victory over Tom Ansell. Campbell Hatton on his way to victory over Tom Ansell.
Campbell Hatton on his way to victory over Tom Ansell.

“You know who to listen to at this stage,” he says. “At the start of my career it was all new to me, all the spotlight and people talking about you and things like that. 

“I was reading everything and I wasn’t letting it affect me or upset me, but you do get overly eager to prove people wrong or change people’s opinions and that’s where I had a few difficult, under-par performances. 

“With experience I’ve learned how to deal with it, I know 90% of what you see on social media is daft and not worth the time of day. That’s not to say you shouldn’t take any of it on board. 

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“The people who know what they’re talking about will say that I’ve improved massively over the last couple of years, I’m a completely different fighter, it’s not going to happen overnight. I’m not my dad who boxed for world titles. People forget that he wasn’t there straight away, he had 70-odd amateur fights, it takes time. Where I’m learning on the job under the spotlight.”

Campbell Hatton with Matchroom boss Eddie HearnCampbell Hatton with Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn
Campbell Hatton with Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn

Signing a big promotional deal with Matchroom and Eddie Hearn, who looks after Anthony Joshua’s career among others, Hatton was on major undercards and in televised fights from day one. 

Now 14 fights in, all wins with five knockouts along the way, he freely admits that it did all get a bit too much at one stage. But Hatton, trained by his uncle Matthew, another decorated fighter from the family, has now reset and heads to South Yorkshire this weekend focused only on the job at hand. 

“We knew the pressure was going to be on me from the off,” he says. “I don’t think we realised how big it was going to be but it was definitely the right decision. 

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“People do mention ‘did you not think about going away from all the eyes?’ and no, we didn’t. Eventually you’ve got to deal with it. If we’d have turned pro away from the eyes, eventually, if you plan on doing anything in the sport, you’re going to be on TV, on the big shows, so I’d have had those problems later on. You might as well do it early so you know nothing else. 

“We got to the point where it did get to be a little bit too much, too soon and we did a few smaller shows if you like and then we’ve come back to big shows and I’ve not let old habits creep back in.

The calm before the storm -  Campbell Hatton with dad Ricky and trainer and uncle Matthew. Picture: Matthew Pover/MatchroomThe calm before the storm -  Campbell Hatton with dad Ricky and trainer and uncle Matthew. Picture: Matthew Pover/Matchroom
The calm before the storm - Campbell Hatton with dad Ricky and trainer and uncle Matthew. Picture: Matthew Pover/Matchroom

“I’m well equipped to deal with it now. It doesn’t come into my mind, if anything it’s a fuel. The pressure I get now is from being in big fights like this one. I don’t think about the family name, what people might be thinking, I’m under enough pressure being in there with a tough opponent. I’ve got to be on my game and I’ll make sure that I am.” 

Hatton is a young fighter at 23, and did not have the grounding of others thrust into the TV spotlight. There’s no extensive amateur background and certainly no Olympic medal which means while it may take a little longer for him to get there than some, he’s confident he can reach the level to match the surname. 

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“I think with time I’ll get there, I’ve been improving with every fight,” Hatton says. “I’m a completely different fighter from my debut three years ago nearly and there’s no reason why the next few years shouldn’t be the same. 

“I’ve not had a massive amateur background so I’m not one of these fighters who is turning pro as nearly the finished article. I’ve got absolutely loads to learn and loads of levels to go through. 

“I do my own thing and I know what’s in my sights, I know where I plan on being and I’m working hard to get there however long it might take.”

If he does move through the levels towards taking on some of the best in Britain and the world, then the Hatton name will likely be back up in lights at Manchester’s famous arena. After his dad, Anthony Crolla, Scott Quigg and others, there is now a gap for another name to become the city’s fighting pride. Harpurhey’s Zelfa Barrett headlines at the AO next month against Jordan Gill and Hatton is hoping he won’t be far behind. 

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“Manchester’s always been a proper fighting city, when we look at some of the names we’ve had over the years,” he says. “And the last couple of years, there has been a little void in Manchester, waiting for the next crop to come through. 

Zelfa’s getting to the stage now where he can take over that and I think I’m not a million miles behind. I’ve got a long way to go but I don’t see any reason why it can’t be me in a couple of years, headlining at the MEN. 

“Manchester has always had great fans. The arena’s had special atmospheres when anyone boxes there and I want a little bit of that for myself.”