Dancing on Ice host Stephen Mulhern reveals injury caused by 'knockout punch' from Ricky Hatton
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Featured Image Credit: ITV
Within minutes of the brand new 2024 series of Dancing on Ice landing on our television screens, ITV viewers were left in a state of total shock.
And no - this wasn't down to a painful-looking celebrity tumble on the ice, or a scathing judgement from the esteemed panel of experts.
As part of a staged skit, Stephen's co-host Holly Willoughby - who returned to screens earlier this month after sensationally resigning from This Morning back in October - was chatting to the show's first set of couples when Stephen started faffing around with the mic.
During the jibe, the Catchphrase star boldly asked ex-fighting champion Ricky to hold the microphone for him, in the style a boxing announcer would, while he read out the terms and conditions for voting.
Once Stephen had finished his message, Ricky then dropped the microphone, after which the co-host tried to move it back in front of him three times.
Holly - who previously hosted the show with Phillip Schofield, who quit ITV last year after admitting to an affair with a younger, male colleague while married to his wife - then advised the boxer to 'just hit him'.
And she clearly didn't have to tell Ricky twice after he 'punched' Stephen on the arm, sending him off his feet and onto the ground.
Holly was left beyond gobsmacked, gasping and covering her mouth in shock.
Viewers took to social media to share their reactions to the hilarious moment.
"Ricky Hatton just punched and knocked Stephen Mulhern over on live TV!" one penned on X.
Another wrote: "OMG! It looked like Ricky Hatton really walloped Stephen Mulhern then!"
Following the episode's airing, a message on Ricky's X page read: "Ricky even landing knockout blows on @dancingonice! Hope you’re okay @StephenMulhern."
Taking it in jest, Stephen later replied: "I’m already starting to bruise!"
And now, after Ricky became the first big-name star to be eliminated from the series over the weekend, Stephen has spoken out about the 'punch'.
Speaking to The Sun, the presenter claimed though it was intended to be a staged skit, he never expected the sportman to hit him that hard.
"I said to Ricky, do us a favour... Holly will say to you 'just punch him Ricky', which she said off the cuff initially and I said 'we should do that live'," he explained.
"Obviously I forgot he's a three time world champion boxer. He nearly knocked me out. If I showed you the bruise, it is massive. It's on the arm, it's very painful."
Tyla has contacted Ricky Hatton's representatives for comment.