The man once dubbed “Ricky Fatton” has more reason than most to believe a healthy body ensures a healthy mind. A swing of the scales has all too often foretold a swing in the 34-year-old boxer’s mental health, particularly during the three-and-a-half years from 2009, when he battled drink, drugs and depression. Almost three months after his comeback bout, has Hatton kept the weight down?
“I’m making sure the healthy Ricky Hatton is here to stay and Ricky Fatton is a thing of the past,” he says. “I was a horrendous 15 stone before the comeback, and got down to 10st 6lb for the fight. I’m guessing I’m around 12 stone now. I’ve been in the gym pretty much every day working with my fighters [he’s a trainer and promoter now]. I’m in good shape – even though I won’t be fighting again.”
That’s another thing that has changed since he was knocked out in the ninth round by Ukrainian Vyacheslav Senchenko in November. He’s now sure that his ring days are over.
“I don’t regret fighting,” he insists. “After that fight I knew my best days were behind me. I can look back now in pride, instead of feeling sorry for myself thinking, ‘Can I give it one more go?’ I gave it one more go. I got the answer I needed.”
This news comes as a relief to his long-term partner Jennifer Dooley, who during Hatton’s darkest days found him crouched on the floor with a knife to his wrists. Images of his battered face after the fight act as a sober reminder of just how dangerous it was.
“I’ve had more than my fair share of lows. I was overweight, I was depressed, I was suicidal. Then for my comeback fight I had 20,000 people roaring my name again. I’ve had massive highs in my life, and I’ve had my lows – I’m looking forward to finding a bit of middle ground now.”
He’s currently preparing for Let’s Dance for Comic Relief. “I’m doing Let me Entertain You by Robbie Williams,” he reveals. “In the video Robbie goes a bit nuts, and I’ve had my fair share of wild moments! It’s right up my street.”
The jokes are a familiar mix of the self-deprecation and bravado that made Hatton one of the UK’s most popular boxers. “In the ring I think my footwork was very underrated. I used to feint, then slip to the left, slip to the right, in order to find my body shots. Let’s see if I can’t bring those moves from the ring to the dancefloor!”
With a third child on the way, Hatton’s family will also keep him busy.
“I want to be the best father I can be. When I was going through the depression, the bad times, I nearly lost my family, my girlfriend, my life. So being grateful for family now is paramount. Me being healthy, keeping busy, doing shows like Let’s Dance, all of that will keep them happy.”
Let’s Dance for Comic Relief is on Saturday at 6:50pm on BBC1