Q&A: VYACHESLAV SENCHENKO
Ukranian welter prepares for Hatton
Press Release: Former WBA welterweight titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko isnít intimidated by the prospect of fighting in front of 18,000-plus hostile Ricky Hatton fans. The once-beaten Ukrainian views his fight against the former two-division champ and British superstar in Manchester, England, as an opportunity to prove heís one of the elite fighters in the 147-pound division. Senchenko will take on Hatton in a ten-round in an afternoon edition of Showtime Championship Boxing this Saturday, Nov. 24th.
Senchenko (32-1, 21 KOs) went undefeated in 31 bouts before losing the WBA belt to Paulie Malignaggi in his most recent outing on April 29th. The match in Hattonís hometown will be only the third time in his pro career that Senchenko has fought outside his native Ukraine. The 35-year-old will face what he expects to be one of the toughest tests of his career in the 34-year-old Hatton (45-2, 32 KOs), who is coming back after a 3Ĺ year self-imposed exile following a loss to Manny Pacquiao in 2009.
Q: While [you are] focused on defeating Ricky Hatton, would [you] like to face another British superstar, Amir Khan, if you get by Hatton?
Vyacheskav Senchenko: ďIím not looking that far yet, because when I win this fight I will be in contention for some of the biggest fights out there. I could fight Amir Khan if I win, but right now Iím concentrating on this fight. Iíll have to see what to do next.Ē
Q: Hatton is coming off a 3Ĺ year layoff. Do you think you're catching him at the right time?
VS: ďWhen I made the decision to fight Ricky, I did it expecting the best Ricky Hatton. We know Ricky wouldnít have come back if he wasnít at his best Ė thatís just how boxing is. Ricky wouldnít have taken the risk if he didnít think he was 100 percent. So weíre expecting a very hard fight. Weíre expecting the best Ricky Hatton, a prime Ricky Hatton.
Q: This is just your third fight outside your native Ukraine. How do you prepare for a fight in front of 18,000 hostile fans?
VS: ďIím very excited that Iím going to Manchester to fight in front of a huge crowd. I had a great camp and prepared the way I always do. Itís an opportunity to shine and show the British my skills. Sure, there will 18,000 Ricky Hatton fans, but once Iím in the ring itís just me and Ricky. The fans arenít in there with him.Ē
Q: Hatton beat Malignaggi, and Malignaggi defeated you. Why will you upset Hatton?
VS: ďWhen I fought Paulie, everything went well in the beginning and then I got injured and I couldnít apply the plan we had scheduled in training. I couldnít do what I wanted to do. It was a one-time thing because of the injury. I had a good training camp and was able to prepare well, but I got injured. Those things happen in boxing. I thought I fought well but I just couldnít see anything because the eye was completely closed. Of course, Paul was an odd boxer to fight. Rickyís fighting style suits me better. I believe it will be a better fight for me. Iíve had a great camp and Iím ready to get back into the limelight with a win.Ē
Q: What were the main reasons you accepted the fight against Hatton in England?
VS: ďThis is the way to come back in the limelight Ė to beat one of the most popular boxers in the world. It would bring me back in the top position, worldwide. If I beat Ricky then I can get another shot at a title. Once youíre in the ring itís just you and the opponent. The challenge is to show the 18,000 that Iím the best boxer in the ring.
Q: Can you tell us the keys to victory?
VS: ďWe need a good jab, a good jab when the opponent comes in -- and good legs and sharp punching. Iím an old-school, classical boxer so I need to be able to control the fight. I like boxers that come in rather than run away. If I can dictate the pace and not allow Ricky to get into a rhythm, I should be able to execute my strategy and do what I prepared for in camp.Ē
Q: Do you think youíll need to knock him out, or can you win a decision in England?
VS: ďIíve got to fight my own game plan. Iím not looking for a knockout. Iím looking for a good, technical fight. A good, distance fight. If I can stop the fight early on that would be good, but Iíll take the points. As long as I donít get injured I should be fine. Thereís no problem with the eye, it was a one-time thing with Paulie. Iíve never had another problem since.Ē