Boxing legend Hatton visits Kettering for charity event

Ricky Hatton with the tournament organisers. Picture by Alison Bagley.
Ricky Hatton with the tournament organisers. Picture by Alison Bagley.

One of the country's greatest ever boxers was in Kettering yesterday (Saturday) for a charity football tournament.

Ricky 'The Hitman' Hatton, 40, visited Tresham College in Windmill Avenue for the second annual Mark 'Barney' Barwell Memorial Football Tournament.

Ricky Hatton with Billionaires owner Drew Wilcox.

Ricky Hatton with Billionaires owner Drew Wilcox.

The former light-welterweight champion joined old school friends in a St James Vets team before heading into town for dinner at Billionaires in Sheep Street.

Hatton, who won 45 of his 48 career fights and received an MBE in 2007, said: "I've not played for a good few years.

"All the lads in the team are friends of mine from school. We grew up together in Hyde.

"I'm a better boxer than footballer. I played for the county and was at the Manchester City school of excellence up until I was 16.

"I had to choose between boxing and football.

"Boxing won - I play better with my gloves on."

Hatton's appearance came after a member of the St James Vets club was playing in a similar charity tournament when someone mentioned the event in Kettering. They then decided to take a coach load from Manchester to Kettering.

The tournament was set up in memory of Kettering man Mark 'Barney' Barwell who was part of FC Unit, a Sunday morning football team which he and his mates played together in for about five seasons.

Mark died on September 21, 2017, so FC Unit decided to host tournament in his memory. Last year's inaugural event attracted more than 120 players.

A fundraising page set up by his friends and family has already raised almost £10,000 for Parkinson's UK, Johnny's Happy Place and Barney's Legacy Fund.

This year's seven-a-side tournament was won by Team Hormone.