Ricky Hatton hits back via Twitter

Ricky Hatton shares pictures of his preparations via TwitterThis weekend boxer Ricky Hatton will return to the ring for the first time in three years, taking on Yvacheslav Senchenko in his home town of Manchester on Saturday night. When he does so, he will become the first UK athlete to compete in a major live televised sports event with his Twitter handle on his kit.

The @HitmanHatton account, whose name was changed to reflect Hatton’s boxing nickname, already has nearly 200,000 followers. However, such a major piece of promotion is sure to see his follower numbers rocket upwards.

Appropriately, Hatton revealed his new shorts on Twitter earlier this morning:

Hatton has always had a dedicated fan base, who have followed him around the world for his fights. Social media, and Twitter in particular, have allowed that relationship to continue grow during Hatton’s absence from the ring. For example, Hatton has often revealed significant news on Twitter first, as well taking part in Q&As with fans. Building up to this fight Hatton has been sharing behind the scenes pictures of his preparations.

The Hitman’s team are harnessing his dedicated Twitter following to help inspire Hatton while he is training. Some fans who tweet messages of support using the hashtag #RickysCorner are having those tweets turned into posters which are being placed around Ricky Hatton’s gym as his prepares for Saturday. Those fans will then been sent the poster, signed by Hatton.

Graeme Harrison is the Head of Digital at Fast Track Agency, and has been working with Hatton on his comeback. He revealed what was behind this digital project:

“Ricky always has and always will be a boxer who is close to his fans. However, Twitter enabled Ricky to engage and build deeper connections.”

The project makes an excellent, tangible, feedback loop, breaking down barriers between fan and hero. According to Harrison:

#RickysCorner allowed us to take something “virtual” (a tweet) and make it physical (a poster) which Ricky would then sign and send back to his fans. This gives his fans something that money can’t buy, a set of posters that motivate Ricky and helps communicate Ricky’s key message to fans and the wider audience.