Ryan Burnett can burn up the bantam division, says Ricky Hatton
Ryan Burnett will aim to take another solid step along his professional boxing learning curve at the Odyssey Arena on April 4, under the watchful eye of manager and coach Ricky Hatton.
Hatton believes Olympic Youth gold medalist Burnett has the ability to follow in the glittering footsteps of unbeaten Carl Frampton who headlines the Cyclone Promotions Odyssey bill in his WBC World super-bantamweight title eliminator with Mexican Hugo Cazarez.
The former world light-welterweight champion, who also looks after Belfast lads Sonny and Anthony Upton, has not only been barking the orders from outside the ring in his Manchester gym but also sharing the canvas with the 21-year-old.
Hatton said: "Ryan looks like a real star to me. He's not just improving with every fight, to be honest he's improving with every training session.
"He's maturing and he's getting stronger. I've actually been sparring him and doing some close quarter work which you've got to learn as a professional and I'd like to think I was quite good at that.
"He's got very good boxing ability and handspeed which everyone can see but having been in with him I've realised that he's physically very, very strong for a little bantamweight so it does look to me that he has all the tools to go all the way.
"Of course he has to tick all the boxes like I had to do, like Carl Frampton had to do and like Barry McGuigan had to do. But I believe he has the ability, the temperament and the speed and he just has to prove that he has the stamina and prove his chin – and if he does those two things then the the world is his oyster, he can go as far as he wants in this game."
While Hatton has every faith in Burnett's potential, he knows that his own ability to pick the right fights at the right time will be crucial for the Belfast man's development.
"It's going to be hard to hold Ryan back and if you're old enough, you're good enough. The last time he boxed on the Carl Frampton bill at the Odyssey he fought a very tough fighter and wasn't expected to do what he did to him, stopping him in two rounds.
"I was brought through by Frank Warren at a young age and at the right time he moved me up in class and I'd like to think that I'll know the right time to move him up.
"It's all about timing, about having regular fights and when the time is ready I'll know. He just has to be patient."