News October 2017

Ricky Hatton Our Fight Part 2 Giuseppe Lauri


By Michael J Jones

LIVEFIGHT CONTINUES our series about the men who fought Ricky Hatton. This time we spoke to Italian Giuseppe “The End” Lauri who fought “The Hitman” on September 23rd 2000 at York Hall. On the line was the WBO and WBA InterContinental titles though, more importantly, it was another step up for the streaking Hatton who brought a perfect 20-0 (16) record to the ring that night.

Lauri, three years older than the Manchester prospect at 24, also had a good record of 19-1 (14) and had lost his only bout via split-decision. Both fighters were stocky types at 5’7” but little was known about the Hungarian-based Italian when he made the trip over to London to take on the future two-weight world champion.

The Fight

The two men started the fight fast with Hatton zeroing in on the ribs of Lauri and the Italian boxing on the move. Ricky was guilty of being over-eager in the first few rounds and Lauri had plenty of success with booming right-hands and some neat and quick combination punches.

“I honestly had no idea who Ricky Hatton was before the fight” Giuseppe, now 41-years-old, tells Livefight. “I got the call to box him a month-and-a half in advance and I was very motivated by the news. I first met him on the day of the weigh in (Lauri requiring a return trip to the scales to make weight) but the thing which I wish I’d have known was his taste of punching the body.”

“If I’d have realised, I would have prepared differently and been more attentive to his shots (downstairs).”

By the third it was apparent that Lauri was no slouch, and also, he had not come to lose. As Hatton would wade in looking to over-power the shaven-headed Lauri, the quicker Italian would power in a lead-right and follow up with sharp jabs. The lead hand of the visitor drew blood from the nose of the favourite who seemed to feel some of the counters coming his way.

“Hatton was very good and strong physically, but technically, he was not superior to me and I felt I was ahead on points and also that I hurt him on a few occasions. The referee was too hasty to stop the fight when he did.”

The Manchester bruiser started the fifth fast, but the Italian continued to match fire with fire. Things changed dramatically one minute into the deciding round. With Lauri’s punch out-put suddenly decreasing he tried to catch a breather with his back on the ropes but Ricky broke free to pound his tiring opponent relentlessly.

Three big left hooks forced Giuseppe to reel as referee Bartolome Torralba waved the fight off at 1:56 of the round.

“The referee was wrong when he halted the fight” argues Lauri seventeen years later. “I was still standing and in the lead and could have continued but it was still a wonderful experience. It was a pleasure to fight against a champion like Ricky Hatton and after the fight we had a few beers together.”

A while after facing Hatton, Lauri would also cross swords with “The Hitman’s nemesis Junior Witter who also stopped him. I ask who his money would have been on if the two men had fought around that time having fought both?

“Hatton was very good at pushing you back and hitting the body but Witter was much faster and was awkward…I really would not like to say who would have won in their best form.”

Amazingly, Lauri, at 41 and a veteran of 75 fights, is still active to this day. After the Hatton fight, Lauri would win the Italian title as well as the EBU and IBF Inter-Continental belts. Now a staggering 56-19 (34) he last fought in March, scoring a stoppage win in Germany.

“I always say ‘this is my last fight’ but I cannot stop!” laughs Giuseppe who has been a pro for nearly twenty years. “It feels like there’s no risk anymore and I feel I can still do it and I still enjoy it.”

Parting shots

At the ref’s final instructions there was a short, intense, nose-to-nose stare down between the two men.

Ricky’s younger brother Matthew made his pro debut with a points victory on the undercard.

The referee had a busy night as the Italian’s tendency to duck his head low, along with Hatton’s habit of pushing the head to step across for the body shot, made head clashes and wrestling a regular feature.

Livefight scored the first four rounds dead even at 38 points each. The first belonged to Hatton, Lauri nicked the next two while Hatton edged a tough fourth.

Road warrior Lauri has boxed in the UK on five occasions and has also boxed in Canada, Germany, Finland and Belgium in his long career.

Lauri has his own boxing gym based in Hungary to pass his vast experience on to the young fighters coming through.

In his next bout just a month later, Hatton would claim the British title with a decision over Jon Thaxton. That contest was featured in Part 1 of our series.

Newsletters Signup