WWE legend backing for boxer Ryan Rhodes - PICTURES

BOXING champ Ryan Rhodes - now managed by Ricky Hatton - had a knockout night backstage with another hitman at Sheffield Arena.

He met up with his WWE wrestling pal, the legendary Bret "The Hitman" Hart.

The all-time great said he wants to be ringside when Sheffield's European light middleweight fights for a world title, hopefully this year or next.

Rhodes hopes wrestling's Hitman will be around to carry his belt in the ring.

The boxer attended the WWE Raw show with Big Joe Egan, Mike Tyson's ex-sparring partner turned movie hard man. The buddies first met Hart when they shared the bill at a boxer v wrestler show at iceSheffield last summer.

This week they were reunited and given the VIP treatment as guests of WWE, who recently got Ricky Hatton to compare a TV broadcast at Sheffield Arena.

Rhodes, who defends his EBU title at Ponds Forge on May 21, said: "It was great to meet up with Bret again. I grew up watching him as one of wrestling's biggest ever names on TV. Now to have him as a friend is amazing.

"I'd be so proud to have Bret escort me in the ring with my belt. He's got a heavy schedule, which takes him around the world. But if he can be at my fights he says he will be. I'm defending my European belt and hoping to have a shot at the world title this year or next.

Bret said: "I'd love to see Ryan fight. If I can get to support him I'll be there, sure. And it's always good to meet up again with my friend Big Joe. A real character.

"I was looking forward to our Sheffield visit to catch up with them and other friends I made here last summer."

Also getting the special photo shoot and autograph treatment backstage were The Star's meet-and-greet winners - Codie Nowell, aged 11, and her mum ChristieWordsworth, from Hoyland, Barnsley, and Sheffield schoolboy brothers Brad and Lewis Dexter, who met WWE superstars Ted DiBiase Jr and Chris Masters.

Star Superkid and wrestling fan Kyle Barton, aged 16, who has inspired others with his active lifestyle despite losing both arms and legs to meningitis, was also invited backstage by WWE bosses.

He's grown up in the media spotlight and now wants to be a reporter - so The Star and our WWE pals fixed it for him to recenty interview his hero, Rey Mysterio.

See his video chat in full on line at thestar.co.uk/video

Thousands of wrestling fans inside the Arena enjoyed the thrills and spills as some of wrestling's biggest global TV stars brought mayhem and fun to the venue, including John Cena, Randy Orton, The Big Show and Batista.

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