Don’t bet against: Ricky Hatton insists Sergey Rabchenko will give Adriano Nicchi ‘horrible time’ in Monte Carlo

By Ed Owen

Sergey Rabchenko may be jetting off to gambling hotspot Monte Carlo to defend his European light-middleweight crown but you’d be a fool to bet against him, according to trainer Ricky Hatton.

The Hitman-coached Belarusian is swapping a snow-covered Manchester for the glitz and glamour of the Salle des Étoiles for his second EBU title defence on March 30.

And the unbeaten sensation has impressed enough in pre-bout training for Hatton to believe challenger Adriano Nicchi faces a monumental task to ruin his fighter’s exemplary record.

“Sergey has been on fire in training and if he takes that into this fight then it’ll be something which really makes people sit up and take notice of his ability,” Hatton said.

“Every time he’s started a training camp he’s been a level higher than he was in his last one, but this time he’s really been something else.

“Sergey has been all over his sparring partners, giving them a horrible time and I think Nicchi is going to feel that same force in this fight.”

Having knocked out 16 of his 22 opponents inside the distance, Rabchenko possesses a record to make even the hardiest opponent tremble.

However, Hatton admits his charge didn’t give his greatest performance last time out – taken to points by resilient Frenchman Cedric Vitu – the 27-year-old could only scrape a split decision.

But the Hyde-born coach has full confidence in his fighter, believing Rabchenko’s off-day at Manchester Arena to be a vital learning experience as he looks to build a stellar career.

“Sergey wasn’t happy with how he boxed last time, but it shows the mark of a true champion when you can have an off-night and still beat top quality opponents at European level,” said Hatton.

“He made mistakes in that fight but there were a number of reasons – firstly, he had to train four weeks extra because the fight was supposed to be in France and it got put back.

“And then I couldn’t work his corner because it was on the same bill as my comeback.

“But in Monte Carlo he’ll put all that behind him and I’m sure he’ll show people what the real Sergey Rabchenko can do.”

Racbchenko’s clash against Nicchi takes place on the undercard of Gennady Golovkin’s world middleweight title fight with Nobuhiro Ishida and the Million Dollar Super Four tournament.

Image courtesy of Eurosport, via YouTube, with thanks

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