Updated: Sunday, 17th November 2019 @ 5:12pm

‘It will be gruelling’: Ricky Hatton reveals cycling death mountain La Mont Blanc may be tougher than fighting

‘It will be gruelling’: Ricky Hatton reveals cycling death mountain La Mont Blanc may be tougher than fighting

| By Josh Nicholls – MM exclusive

Ricky Hatton has revealed to MM that his 140km cycle for charity this summer could be more gruelling than some of his toughest fights as a boxer.

‘The Hitman’, famous for his colossal battles with the likes of Jose Luis Castillo and Floyd Mayweather Jr, is doing the La Mont Blanc route in July to raise money for homeless charity Barnabus.

The 140km route takes on La Mont Blanc, or The White Mountain, one of the world's deadliest mountains that claims numerous lives every year.

Stockport-born Hatton first came across the charity last year when he and fellow retired boxer Evander Holyfield visited Barnabus to hand out food on behalf of The Global Village Champions Foundation.

Now a huge supporter of the charity, Hatton decided to take on the challenge and, despite his illustrious boxing career, he is under no illusions about the difficulty of the French bike ride.

“People talk about boxing being the toughest sport in the world but I think bike racing overtakes boxing in some respects,” Hatton told MM. “It is going to be very gruelling to say the least.

“I’ve never cycled before in my life, [but] when you retire from a sport such as boxing you have to set yourself new goals and this is a great chance for me.

“I’m still in good shape anyway because I’m down at the gym training boxers most days. Training has been really good so far and I’m very excited about it.”

Hatton will be joined on the ‘Race to the Roof of Europe’ by Richard Poxon, director of boxing at Hatton Promotions, as well as Sheffield boxers Adam Etches and Scott Jenkins.

The former Welterweight and Light Welterweight champion already does his fair share of fundraising work, but says Barnabus is one charity that is particularly special to him.

“This is a charity that is very close to my heart,” said Hatton. “Whenever I’m in Manchester and I see those poor people sat in the streets and in doorways with no food, no money and nothing to keep them warm I feel very sorry for them.

“The worse part of it is many of them have no family. When I fell out with my family it was the worst moment of life, so imagine what these people must feel like.

“These people are homeless with no family and seeing it is terrible it actually makes me feel sick to see it sometimes.”

Always the recipient of passionate support as a boxer, Hatton hopes his fans will rally round his fundraising for Barnabus just as they used to rally around his bouts.

“I had a great following as a fighter and if I can make people take a little bit more notice of the help homeless people need through this ride then that would be brilliant,” he said.

“If I bang the drum about the issue and that is what raises awareness and helps raise more money then that is great.”

Barnabus provides food, shelter and a lifeline for the city’s homeless people by helping them find their way back into mainstream society.

The Manchester-based Christian-run organisation offers shelter to 600 homeless people in Manchester each week, and the money raised by Hatton will be put towards extending the charity’s drop-in centre, which is now at maximum capacity.

Development manager at Barnabus, Carol Price, is delighted to have Manchester’s best-loved boxer as a patron for the organisation and says Hatton inspires many of people they help.

“As soon as Ricky visited he just really took us under his wing,” said Mrs Price. “He made a big food donation to us just before the Christmas period, he agreed to be a patron and then he just called us up and said he was going to the bike ride for us which is fantastic.

“When he came visit us everyone was queuing up to get his autograph and having a real life hero come to see us really inspired some of the guys.

“We’ve had some great success stories over the years, one that I particularly remember was a boy who was studying at university but living on the streets, we’ve helped turn his life around and many other people’s lives with Ricky’s support long may it continue.”

For more information about Ricky Hatton’s La Mont Blanc ride or to make a donation visit www.justgiving.com/ricky-Hatton-MBE or www.barnabus-manchester.org.uk.