RED HOT Belarussian prospect Kirill Relikh has signed a long-term promotional contract with Hatton Promotions and is now targeting a showdown with experienced Aussie Chad Bennett.
Relikh, 16 -0 (14 KOs), has been trained by four-time world champion Ricky Hatton since February this year and will return to the ring in his home city of Minsk on September 10.
Should he come through that fight, he’s been promised a mandatory shot at the aforementioned Bennett’s WBC EPBC light-welterweight championship.
Bennett, who has recently called out WBA champion Jessie Vargas, won the title on Friday night with a fifth round stoppage of the unheralded Indonesia Stevi Ongen Ferdinandus, and Relikh is willing to travel to Australia to be his first challenger.
Hatton Promotions is keen to make the fight happen and will be looking to complete negotiations with Bennett’s representatives within the WBC’s time limit of 90 days.
“I’ve already beaten one Australian in Ty Gilchrist quite easily and I can’t see Bennett being much tougher,” Relikh said through a translator.
“He’s got a good record with more than 40 fights, but he’s not really fought anyone and I’ve heard boxing fans in his own country don’t take him seriously.
“I expect to go to Australia, beat him and have the fans singing my name.”
Ricky Hatton has handled the careers of a myriad of top class fighters since launching his promotional company in 2009 and he believes Relikh can be as good as any.
“Kirill has that raw potential that really gets trainers excited,” Hatton said. “When he first came over he was a little bit upright, like they are from that part of the world, but I remember taking him on the pads and thinking ‘wow, what have they been feeding this guy?’
“You’ve only got to look at his record, 14 knockouts in 16 wins, to see that he can punch. We’ve added a few subtleties his game now and the sky’s the limit.”