FORMER world champion Ricky Hatton says he is excited about the future professional career of a Keighley boxer he is training.

Muhammad Nadim, 20, is being trained by 'Hitman' Hatton, a multiple light-welterweight and welterweight division champion during his own career, as he looks to emulate his mentor in the professional game after a successful spell as an amateur.

Nadim, nicknamed Ibby, is working with Hatton on weekdays at his Hatton's Health & Fitness Club in Hyde, Greater Manchester.

The Keighley fighter's new manager, Paul Speak, has applied for Nadim's professional licence with the British Boxing Board of Control. He will also need to complete a series of medical tests to get his licence.

If approved, it is hoped Nadim will have his first professional bout towards the end of this year.

Nadim, who currently weighs around 10 stone, will compete at either the super bantamweight or featherweight division.

Hatton says he has been impressed with his initial padding sessions in te ring with Ibby, adding he could have an exciting professional career ahead of him.

Hatton said: "It's very exciting times.

"He was a very, very exceptional amateur. He is of a tall and slender nature and has fast hands. He has a massive engine.

"I don't want to put any pressure on such a young man's shoulders. It is very very early days.

"He punches very well. He fights up close.

"He has to tick boxes as a fighter. No doubt his talent is there.

"He has got to prove his heart and his stamina and have a boxing brain. If he ticks all of those boxes, the world is his oyster.

"He has to learn and work hard. I'm very excited for the future for him. There are lots of talented lads at my gym. Tyson Fury trains here.

"What you can achieve through boxing, you have to work very, very hard for it.

"Boxing has given me such a wonderful life, I want to give somebody else that life, that's what it's all about.

"I have only known Ibby for a short while, but I throw every punch for these kids."

Nadim's tie-up with Hatton continues a great year for the Keighley fighter.

In June he was crowned best of British to become the Three Nations champion.

He beat Scotland's Stephen Donald on a unanimous decision in the 56kg final at the event held in Edinburgh.

He had further success in the ring in April when he won the 52-56kg category final at the England Boxing Amateur Championship Finals Day.

He showed his dedication and commitment to the sport by travelling from his home in Keighley to train with his former coach Mick Jelley at his club in Bury ABC in Greater Manchester, where he trained for nine years.

Nadim said: "It feels good. I'm just getting into the swing of things. I have only been here for two or three weeks. I have to get my boxing licence and have medicals.

"The training is good, but it's tough. It is different to what I was doing as an amateur. I am training Monday to Friday, sometimes at the weekend and twice a day, in evenings too.

"In the short term I want to win a British title. In the long term I want to be world champion.

"Keighley is such a small town, it doesn't get much coming out of there for sport."

Speak, who is Hatton's agent, said: "He is eager to learn. It's a work in progress for him.

"The next step is to get the transition from amateur to professional.

"He is an amazing young man. He now has the experience of Ricky Hatton and his organisation.

"My grandson trained alongside him. Ricky quickly took a shine to him. He has done work on the pads with him."