Hatton: I'll chill 'The Heat'
Chris van Heerden (Gallo Images)
Johannesburg - South African IBO welterweight champion Chris "The Heat" van Heerden and England challenger Matthew Hatton made no bones at Friday's final weigh-in about the injuries they intended inflicting on each other.
The two made the welterweight limit without any trouble. Their much-publicised confrontation would take place at the Sandton Convention Centre, in Johannesburg, on Saturday night.
The Hatton, 31, the younger brother of the now-retired and charismatic Ricky Hatton, proclaimed "a special reason" for wanting to annex a first title in what could be his final attempt.
He drew his fight for the same IBO welterweight title against South African Lovemore Ndou four years ago, but believed the decision should have gone his way.
More recently, he failed in an attempt to wrest the WBC light-middleweight title from the formidable Saul Alverez.
"This time I'm making no mistake about the verdict, and it's appropriate I should finally get the title I earned years ago against another South African," Hatton said.
The English fighter had an IBO ranking of 24. Hatton declined to shake hands with Van Heerden at the weigh-in, which the South African IBO champion said was "disrespectful".
With a record of only one defeat from his 20 fights, Van Heerden, 25, said he would be "faster, stronger and more determined" than the more experienced Hatton, who has a record of 43 wins, six defeats and two draws.
The Hatton contingent has been accompanied by light-heavyweight Mattie Clarkson, who meets former South African champion Tshepang Mohale on the Sandton Convention Centre bill.
Also on Saturday's bill, Osborne Machimane is aiming to use Elvis Moyo as a stepping stone to regaining the South African heavyweight title.
Top South African welterweight fighters of yesteryear, Isaac "The Angel" Hlatswayo and Kaizer "The Beast" Mabuza, will be seeking to rekindle their fading careers.
Hlatswayo was the only fighter with weight problems on Friday, but after being given an hour's reprieve, he scaled the required limit as well.
The five-fight programme will be launched by a welterweight contest between Lobande Batele and Mthobisi Buthelezi.