LEADING European bantamweight contender Zhanat Zhakiyanov has begun training with Ricky Hatton and his assistant Mike Jackson at Hatton Health and Fitness in Hyde.
The big punching Kazakhstani has been part of Hatton Promotions’ stable since 2011 and feels a move to England will help him take his career to the next level.
Zhakiyanov has won 12 of his 19 victories by knockout and is the current mandatory challenger to EBU titlist Stephane Jamoye.
“I’m very happy and very proud to be trained by Ricky because he is one of the greatest boxers in history,” Zhanat, 25, said.
“I am new to this country, but I do not mind being away from home because I am a survivor and have lived though many things.
“Boxers from Kazakhstan often go to other countries to become world champions and I am the same. Vassiliy Jirov was my idol and he boxed mainly in America. I hope I can have a career like his here with Ricky.”
Zhanat has only been in the gym for a few days, but already he has made a huge impression on ‘The Hitman’.
“I’ve been very impressed, but I’m also excited that there’s so much more I can do with him,” Hatton said
“Zhanat only came to us this week and I can see the improvement already. As the weeks and months go by, I think he’s going to get better and better.
“He’s already the number one contender in the EBU rankings and he’s got there very little coaching. This kid has come through on sheer talent and I’m excited because there’s a lot more we can add to him.
“He’s very heavy handed and I believe with a little bit of fine tuning he can go all the way.
“I’m confidence he can beat Stephan Jayome for the European title and that should get him ranked at number two or three by the WBC. It’s not going to be easy, but winning that fight alone could put him near to a world title.”
Photo: Mark Robinson/Hatton Promotions