Boxing great David Haye reckons fight fans of Preston and Chorley could have a future world champion in their midst in the not too distant future.
The former WBC heavyweight champion is convinced Preston’s light-middleweight Scott Fitzgerald and Chorley’s super-lightweight Jack Catterall have the necessary tools to follow in his footsteps and go right to the top of the sport in their respective weight categories.
And the 38-year-old– who was also once the undisputed world cruiserweight champion – is closely monitoring the next move of current Commonwealth Games flyweight gold medal winner Lisa Whiteside.
Chorley-born Whiteside, who lives in Preston, is remaining tight-lipped about her future after being released from her Team GB contract last month.
However, the 33-year-old who is trained by Mick Day at JR Gym, is widely expected to turn professional next year and Haye for one would love to see a match-up between her and double Olympic champion Nicola Adams.
“Lisa is the Commonwealth Games champion and it is great to see female boxers out there and demanding attention,” Haye exclusively told the Lancashire Post.
“Nicola Adams is probably the most high profile female boxer. She was a great amateur who is a double Olympic champion and now she’s turned professional.
“I definitely feel that a fight between them both would be an absolute mega fight.”
A keen observer of the sport, Haye has liked what he has seen of Fitzgerald ever since the ex-Larches and Savick ABC ace announced himself on the big stage when he stormed to
Commonwealth Games glory at super welterweight in Glasgow in 2014.
Since turning pro in 2016, Fitzgerald – who trains at Jennings Gym, in Chorley - is unbeaten in 11 fights, with eight knockouts, and although his progress has been hindered by a number of niggly injuries, Haye has been impressed with his style.
He believes a fight with Anthony Fowler – who also won gold in Glasgow at middleweight - will create huge interest domestically.
“Scott’s very good,” said Haye. “He’s making all the right noises and is doing what he needs to do by getting the wins as a pro.
“There’s some big fights out there for him. There’s talk of him having that big fight with Anthony Fowler.
“That would be an absolute cracker of a fight if that was to happen.
“Hopefully he gets over his injury quick.
“He hurt his hand in his last fight which was a tough one.
“But I think him against Fowler is one which all boxing fans in the country would love to see.
“Obviously their history goes back to amateur boxing days - they have both boxed for England. It’s going to be interesting. It’s an interesting time for both fighters.
“They are both young, hungry and will want to show who is best.
“What a great sport boxing is that we can prove who is best on one night.
“Let’s see them both get in shape and let’s see who the No.1 is.”
If 26-year-old Fitzgerald is heading towards a potential shot at the British title, 25-year-old Catterall has already scaled that height.
He defeated Tyrone Nurse in Leeds to win the Lonsdale belt before relinquishing it immediately.
The current IBO intercontinental champion, Catterall beat Ohara Davies in Leicester in his last outing and could be close to getting a shot at the world title.
“I like Jack,” said Haye. “I watched his last fight against Ohara Davies in what was a solid 12-round victory.
“Davies is very awkward, very difficult to deal with and very dangerous, but Jack slowed the paced down. He picked his shots and he showed that he’s one for the future. To have a record of 23-0 is impressive and he’s been over to Las Vegas and sparred in Floyd Mayweather’s gym.
“I heard he gave a very good account of himself over there."
You have got to give him a lot of credit that he’s willing to fly all around the world to get the very best sparring and it showed in that last fight.”