Likeable Australian Lovemore N’Dou beat Ben Rabah last night to spring a mild surprise on the boxing world and secure a mandated shot at the IBF Light-Welterweight championship, a title held by bankable superstar Ricky Hatton. The self acclaimed Black Panter, a veteran of over 50 bouts, arrives back at contender status via a circuitious route having originally campaigned that he should have contested the vacated belt the first time Hatton relinquished.
In a story-line with just a hint of GroundHog Day about it, Lovemore now finds himself exactly where he hoped to be a year ago, having had to wait for first Rabah and Juan Urango to face off, then Urango tackling Hatton and latterly defeating deposed contender Rabah in a final eliminator. It also leaves Hatton with the unfortunate decision of abdicating a belt for the fourth time in a row, days after winning it, in order to preserve his mega-fight with Jose Luis Castillo or drop that cash rich contest and face N’Dou his mandatory.
Adding insult to Hatton’s increasingly damaged ego and reputation, N’Dou, of course, is the fighter Junior Witter defeated almost two years ago – Witter is a fighter roundly criticised by Hatton amid the growing domestic antognism toward his apparent lack of direction.