It was described as a “Visa Mix-up” but the USA immigration’s denying former World Champion boxer Ricky Hatton entry may be a warning to many other sports stars.
Hatton was due to fly to Las Vegas to work as a ringside pundit for Box Nation on the Floyd Mayweather and Amir Khan fights but he was turned back for what is believed to be his past association with drugs. Funny how they let the likes of Mike Tyson out and back in but others are not allowed in. Celebrity TV chef Nigella Lawson was also recently denied entry to the US for a similar reason.
Interestingly Hatton has never been convicted for a drug offence; nor for that matter has Lawson. Both have however admitted using them.
This would appear to be enough for the US who appear to be clamping down on sports people with drugs connections or for that matter any previous issues with the law. Last year a British boxing trainer was denied entry due to having criminal convictions in his previous past. So much for doing the time and being allowed back into society.
Hatton’s lawyers have stated that he has no criminal convictions whatsoever and that he will be applying for another visa as soon as possible.
This is an interesting stance by the US authorities and could spell trouble for Britain’s Olympic Gold medallist in London Anthony Joshua who was given community service when he was younger after being charged with cannabis possession in his youth.
How far will this go? Will the US prevent their athletes with similar convictions from leaving the country? It is interesting that they have taken such a stance at a time when the punishments meted out for their athletes caught using performance enhancing drugs has been criticised for being “too lenient.”