FORMER world champion Ricky Hatton is predicting a glowing future for boxing in Blackpool.
Two of his fighters, Matty Askin and Adam Little, feature on the exciting bill at the Tower Circus on August 19.
And Hatton, whose brother Matthew tops the bill, is convinced it is the start of something big for the sport in the town.
Askin, from South Shore, is one of the attractions at the Tower as he continues his march towards a British title shot, while Hatton is also predicting a bright future for Little, who hails from Kirkham and like his stablemate is unbeaten.
There is extra spice to the bill with the addition of big-punching cruiserweight Rik Turba, who is regularly involved in explosive action. Born in Slovakia, he is happily settled in Blackpool.
In addition, there will be a professional debut for Blackpool middleweight Tom Scott.
Hatton said the bill, promoted by Robert Waterman, was packed with quality, with an undercard of “great” prospects supporting his brother, who was a world title challenger in his latest fight.
Hatton said: “Everyone on the under-card is going to give value for money.
“We want the boxers on the show to be the names on everyone’s lips in Blackpool. In a few years’ time they will be doing this town proud.
“It has gone a bit quiet in Blackpool boxing in recent years, but it’s time we started beating the drum for these lads because they are doing Blackpool proud.
“Robert Waterman is putting this show together and I have plans for a show in the near future at the Tower or the Winter Gardens, both fantastic venues.
“Askin, Little and Turba can win titles, and major titles at that, for Blackpool. Not to know of them would be a crying shame.
“It’s very important that we began the drum, starting with August 19.”
“Blackpool should be really excited about Askin and Little, who are two of the best prospects in the country.”
Askin has won all his ten fights to date, winning the Central Area cruiserweight title along the way.
Some way along the line he hopes to challenge holder Rob Norton for the British title.
Hatton said: “That won’t be the only belt Matty is going to win. I have high expectations for him and Adam Little.
“Adam is with a good coach in Joe Pennington. He has been to my gym to train and I have seen him fight.
“I don’t want to speak too soon and put any pressure on him, but it looks as though some of that magic dust has sprinkled on him.
“He looks a real class act, and at the four-round level he is blitzing everybody and standing out.
“You get a sneaky feeling about how far someone can go, and although it’s early days I am very excited about Adam.”
The headline act is Matthew Hatton, who takes on the undefeated Belarusian Andre Abramenka, with the IBF International welterweight belt up for grabs.
It will be Hatton’s first bout since his unsuccessful attempt to step up in weight against high-quality Mexican Saul Alvarez for a version of the world light-middleweight title.
Though Matthew was comprehensively out-pointed in that bout, he has aspirations for another world title attempt at a more suitable weight and so will go all out for a win in Blackpool.
Askin will meet Argentinian Juan Manuel Garay, a 39-year-old veteran of 18 fights.
He clearly digs a bit, with 11 of his 18 wins coming by way of knockout. He has lost ten five of them by KO.
Turba will take on Mitchell Balker, previously defeated by Askin.
Little and Scott are waiting to hear who their opponents will be.
Ricky Hatton has close links with Blackpool and has a lot of friends in the town.
He is glad to have his fighters involved in the promotion, adding: “I came here when I was knee-high to a grasshopper, eight or nine years old, to see the Illuminations and go to the Pleasure Beach.
“One day I am strolling down the front with the candyfloss and now I am involved in a promotion in Blackpool, so I have come a really, really long way!”