Drug use in Sport… Knock out punch?

Ricky ‘The Hitman’ Hatton is famous around the world due to his victorious boxing career. Since his debut in 1997 Hatton has won 45 of his 47 professional fights. Despite having not fought since he was knocked out by Manny Pacquiao last May, it had been speculated that a potential fight against Amir Khan, the WBA light-welterweight champion was in the pipe line. In the meantime Hatton has worked hard to build up his company Hatton Promotions, which has signed some of the country’s most promising fighters and in May this year promoted Ryan Rhodes v Luca Messi in Sheffield. However, the former world boxing champions’ future career was thrown into jeopardy two weeks ago when the News of the Worlds sensationally alleged that Hatton had been captured on video in a Manchester hotel during a “shocking 10-hour drink and drugs binge.” Emma Bowe, the current Irish national senior women's boxing champ, told the News of the World of how she flew from Dublin to attend a cage fighting event with the ex-champ. Emma claims Hatton wanted to meet for drinks 2 hours before the event began, and turned up having already been drinking at his local. She told the News of the World that when plagued by fans asking for photographs and autographs at the event, Ricky seemed agitated and kept telling her “Don’t leave my side.” After the event the pair headed by taxi to a local nightclub but it appears Hatton had other things on his mind. Allegedly, Hatton insisted on returning to his room to snort a line of cocaine in his bathroom before they continued to the club. Emma has also alleged that Hatton’s drug taking did not stop there – detailing how he continued to snort cocaine when they returned to his room after the club. The revelation will have come as a shock to millions of Hatton’s’ fans around the world, as well as his fiancée and nine-year-old son. In July this year he had renewed his fight licence with the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBC) who will now be asking to meet with him to discuss the allegations.However he has apparently not yet gone through the required medical examinations, which arguably he may not take now. Boxers caught taking drugs, or convicted of drug offences, are in breach of the British Boxing Board of Control's Regulation 25. If found guilty of a regulatory breach, Hatton could face being suspended, fined or having his fight and promoters licenses withdrawn. The BBBC has stated "The Board enforces the strictest standards with regard to the use of both recreational and performance enhancing drugs by participants in any capacity in professional boxing." In a criminal court the maximum sentence for possession of a Class A drug like cocaine is seven years in prison and an unlimited fine. In March this year another ex-world champion, Joe Calzaghe, admitted to cocaine abuse. However he was officially retired, no longer licensed and therefore outside the British Boxing Board of Control’s jurisdiction. Fellow former boxer Prince Nazeem Hamed was awarded the MBE in 1999 but it was later revoked in 2006 after he was jailed for 15 months for dangerous driving. Ironically Hatton’s revelation came just as former alcoholic and drug abuser, Jason Booth made a comeback to the ring. Having beaten the addiction which rendered him homeless, Booth lost narrowly on points to Steve Molitor in Sunderland on Saturday night. Booth will now go for the European title in the hope of landing himself a second shot at the world championship. He has offered his help to Hatton saying, 'If Ricky feels like calling me I will talk to him about kicking the habit...and tell him how much I enjoyed my night at the top and how boxing saved my life.” There will be millions of boxing fans hoping Hatton too can redeem himself and come back from this latest knock. Hatton, who checked into rehab on Monday, insists he never took drugs during his boxing career. In an open interview for Daybreak this morning he stated "I've upset my fans, my family, everybody that has been with me from day one. Sorry is not a big enough word for what I want to say to them." Whilst doctors have this week diagnosed him with depression, Hatton himself implies that his failing relationship with his parents as well as his impending retirement contributed to his turning to drink and drugs. FrontRow Legal accepts no responsibility for the contents of the external websites.

Published September 14, 2010

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