MAYBE Adam Etches is ready to take on the mantle as the people’s champion from his mentor and hero Ricky Hatton.
Etches set the stage at the Manchester Arena for Hatton with a win over Roman Dzhuman, the fight before The Hitman’s failed comeback against Ukrainian former world champion Vyacheslav Senchenko.
Hatton’s timing was clearly way off and the fight had been close prior to a thunderous shot in the ninth ending it all and forcing him back into retirement.
Etches got rid of former European title challenger Dzhuman with body shots of his own and put him down twice in the second before referee Phil Edwards stopped the contest.
Neither middleweight Etches, nor Scott Jenkins who was also on the bill, were even professionals when Hatton’s career and life began to spiral on the MGM Grand canvas at the hands of Manny Pacquiao three years ago.
However, Etches particularly remembers the glory days and will cherish being a part of one of his undercards.
“It was sickening for me. I’m a big fan of his and have been since I was very young, but it’s a young man’s game and it’s time for him to hang them up,” said Etches.
“Even though he lost, to fight before Ricky is something I will always remember. He has had a fantastic career and if I go on to achieve half of what he has I’ll be happy.”
Birley’s Etches works closely alongside promoter Hatton and intends to continue to replicate his style with his focus being on Hatton’s own signature body punches.
Etches has the style to win fans, not that he lacks them anyway. This win signalled his 10th win as a pro and his fifth stoppage in a row and at 21 he has plenty of time to add more finesse to his style at the Ingle’s Wincobank gym.
Lightweight Jenkins has also perfected the shot to the ribs and stopped Graham Fearn in the last fight of the night before the curfew shut cruelly on Sam O’Maison.