Ricky Hatton salutes Wigan's James Moorcroft after seeing him in action

Boxing legend Ricky Hatton has heaped praise on Wigan’s James Moorcroft ahead of his next fight in May.

Moorcroft, who has won 10 out of his 10 professional fights so far, is in action against Dorset’s Jake Best on Saturday May 11 at the University of Bolton Stadium.

Reporter Jay Whittle with Lee Blundell, James Moorcroft, Conah Walker and Ricky Hatton

Reporter Jay Whittle with Lee Blundell, James Moorcroft, Conah Walker and Ricky Hatton

The 26-year-old has been sparring at Ricky Hatton’s Boxing Academy in Manchester over the last few weeks in preparation for his 6x3 welterweight showdown.

Moorcroft, coached by Lee Blundell, locked horns with Conah Walker in his latest session under the watchful eye of Hatton.

The famed Mancunian enjoyed a glittering career in his heyday and is ranked by BoxRec as the best British light-welterweight of all time.

“He’s a very good kid – I’ve heard about him because I keep my eye out for all the local lads and I believe he’s 10 unbeaten so he’s looking well,” said Hatton.

“He can box, he can punch, he can fight so he’s coming along really well, and with Lee Blundell with him, he’s very experienced and a good man to have in your corner so things are looking very bright for him.

“It was the first time I’ve watched James and he’s very good. He sparred with a lad of mine, Conah Walker, who I have very high hopes for, and to be honest with you, he did some really good things in there so he’s everything that people have been telling me about him.

“I know people from Wigan have been speaking really highly of him. I have lots of friends down from that part of the woods who all speak highly of him so now after seeing him in the gym, I see why. I’m going to watch his progress with interest now.”

Hatton feels that Moorcroft could have potential to progress to big things.

“It’s very, very early days,” he said. “I mean when I was coming through, I was looking well but I think after 10 fights, it was still a little bit early to put that high of a marble on me so it’s a little bit too early to put it on James.

“But the main thing is that the potential is there, and as long as he keeps listening, working, improving and keeps winning obviously then there’s every chance.

“I always say to my lads, the prime example is Anthony Crolla. He drew a fight in the six-rounders and lost a six-rounder in his first five fights.

“But in the end, he became a world champion and fought Lomachenko in Vegas in his last fight so that’s the way you want to look at it in this game.

“It’s not where you start, it’s where you finish and as long as he keeps going and doesn’t get disheartened by the odd defeat, there’s every chance that could happen.”