Harry Pratt

Matthew Hatton returns Friday, has eye on Khan

British welterweight Matthew Hatton resumes his career against unbeaten Belarussian Andrei Abramenka on Friday with a future shot at Amir Khan firmly on his mind.

While insisting he is fully focussed on his bid for the vacant IBF intercontinental title, at Blackpool’s Tower Circus, Hatton, whose last outing was a 12-round defeat to Mexican sensation Saul Alvarez in March, is definitely dreaming of a clash with Khan in 2012.

Khan, the WBA and IBF junior welterweight titleholder, plans to move up to the 147-pound limit after his next defense and that put fellow countryman Hatton into his firing line.

"I would be absolutely up for the Khan fight, although I don’t look past any opponent," said the 30-year-old younger brother of former two-weight world champion Ricky Hatton. "I am a firm believer in looking at the next fight and using big fights as the motivation to get the job done. I am not afraid to fight the best. I went over to Los Angeles and fought Saul Alvarez.

“So if an opportunity arises to take on a great fighter like Amir, I would jump at the chance. You have to aim for these big fights, and I am one of the best welterweights out there right now.""

If he can prove that in the coming months and claim a world title by the time Khan is fighting as a welterweight, Hatton (41-5, 16 knockouts) knows he will be an more-attractive proposition.

"Hatton Promotions are confident they will get me a world title opportunity by the end of the year," he said. "I would love a crack at WBA titleholder Vyacheslav Senchenko or interim champion Ismael El Massoudi.

"Amir says he is moving up to welterweight and, obviously, if I can get hold of a world title, it would be a natural big fight in this country."

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