CHRIS BLANEY is pinching himself after being given the opportunity to kick start his professional career with boxing legend Ricky Hatton.
The ten-time Irish amateur champion, 24, has signed a promotional contract with Hatton Promotions after spending several months training with The Hitman in Manchester and will make his paid debut at the National Stadium, Dublin on June 25.
Despite boxing around the world for the Emerald Isle, Blaney admits it will be somewhat surreal to have Hatton working his corner.
“Working with Ricky is amazing,” he said. “I used to watch him on TV when I was a kid and now he’s training me. It’s a unbelievable.
“I’ve been in the gym with him for a while and I’ve been learning new things every day so I can’t wait to unleash what I’ve got on my opponent next month.
“The pros are different to the amateurs but I think they’ll suit me down to the ground. Ricky has taught me how to pace myself more and sit down on my shots and I think my fans will be pleased with what they see.”
While he does not intend on running before he can walk, Blaney admits that he’s in a hurry to add professional crowns to his long list of amateur achievements.
“Everybody who laces up the gloves dreams of being a world champion and I’m the same,” he said. “I know I’m a long way off that, but I don’t think it’ll take me too long to win the Irish title.
“That belt is my first goal as a pro. I was very proud when my stable mate Pauly Upton won the title a few weeks ago and I’m in a hurry to go on and win that green belt myself.”
The June 25 bill is entitled ‘The Future’ and has been put together by Hatton Promotions in association with FS Promotions and features some of Ireland’s best up-and-coming talents, including Ciaran Bates, Tyrone McCullagh, Stephen Carroll and the professional debut of Jay Byrne.
Also in action are popular super-middleweight Darren Cruise, former WBA intercontinental super-lightweight challenger Michael Devine, Limerick’s Alan Donnellan, and unbeaten Belfast prospect Paul Hyland Jnr.