Hatton’s Garden Part Three: Sergey Rabchenko vs. Ryan Rhodes

‘The Hitman’ continues his exclusive blog and breaks down the development of promising light-middleweight pupil Sergey Rabchenko

By: Ricky Hatton

14 June 2012    |    0 Comments

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Hatton’s Garden Part Three: Sergey Rabchenko vs. Ryan Rhodes | Fighting Fit
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This Saturday my undefeated light-middleweight Sergey Rabchenko challenges a fighter I also promote, Ryan Rhodes, for the vacant European light-middleweight title. It’s on our big bill at the Manchester Velodrome, headlined by Rendall Munroe against Scott Quigg.

When Sergey first came here from Belarus he had his trainer with him, and I’d do little bits here and there with him; his manager Philippe Fondu said we’d hit it off. There was a feeling that he’d been winning on sheer power but needed technical, tactical and nutritional fine-tuning. The fight before he was matched with Rhodes for the title I was asked if I’d train him and I said yes. Then straight away he was matched with Rhodes which made it a very difficult situation for me. As I promote both guys, normally I would steer them in a different direction but they are rated numbers one and two in Europe so the fight was difficult to avoid.

Sergey comes over seven weeks before a fight. His conditioning was awful at first, he was out of shape and my methods came as a real shock to his system. I saw he was podgy, so I got him a diet sheet and a training regime to take back to Belarus. Now he comes over in fine fettle. We do a lot of bar bag and barrel bag, where you jump in and out, a lot of circuit training. It’s important not to do too much too soon. In the build-up to the Manny Pacquiao fight I could have done with a few days off but Floyd Mayweather Sr drilled me further into the ground; I learned from that.

A lot of Eastern European boxers are technically exceptional, none more so than Kostya Tszyu. But also like them, Sergey is a little upright, so if I had to say a fault it’s that he can be a little too in-your-face and sometimes paws with the left jab to set up the big right hand, moves in straight lines. Now I’ve got him moving side to side and slipping punches; also, knowing when to rest and when to put his foot on the gas. He had very little guidance in Belarus.

Ryan Rhodes is a massive step up, but the key questions are: is it too soon and how much has Ryan got left? Sergey has great power and accuracy but he’s probably not needed stamina yet. The only time he completed 12 rounds, he was on top against Bradley Pryce and able to dictate the pace – that’s not a luxury he’ll have against Ryan.

Rabchenko is known for being very powerful and explosive but there’s a lot more to him. The language barrier has been a bit difficult but we’re getting there. He understands when I ask him to catch a shot, slip or counter, but he’s only young and for this fight I’d have liked a little more time. That said, the difference in him from before is like night and day. I hope by the end of 16 June I’ll have trained my first champion.

* The talent stacked ‘Road To Glory’ card is Hatton Promotions’ biggest so far. As well as Quigg-Munroe and Rhodes-Rabchenko, Ryan’s fellow steel city fighter Richard Towers squares off against Frenchman Gregory Tony for the vacant EU heavyweight crown. In a special attraction, unbeaten British middleweight champion Martin Murray meets French title holder Karim Achour. All VIP and ringside tickets have been sold and the remaining tickets are available by calling Hatton Promotions’ hotline on 01925 755 222. To find out more about Ricky Hatton and Hatton Promotions, please click here.

Look out for Part Three of Ricky Hatton’s weekly blog next Thursday, exclusively on www.fightingfitmagazine.com.

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