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Hatton rate boxer Hooper a future great

Ricky Hatton conquered one Australian all-time boxing great, in Kostya Tszyu and believes he has potentially unearthed another, in Damien Hooper.

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Boxer-turned-promoter Hatton also believes another Australian member of his stable, big-hitting Lucas Browne, can win a world heavyweight title.

Hatton likes to remind Australians he broke their hearts when he dethroned former light welterweight world champion Tszyu in Manchester in 2005, effectively ending a great career.

Now a rising force in the promotional side of the sport, Hatton has 2012 Australian Olympians Hooper and Cameron Hammond on his books, along with world-ranked Browne.

Australian boxing has endured a depressing string of losses in big bouts in 2014 and no longer has any universally recognised world champions, after Sakio Bika and San Soliman recently lost their world titles.

However, Hatton, whose boxer Sergey Rabchenko fights Anthony Mundine in Melbourne next Wednesday, believes Hooper and Browne can revive Australia’s ailing boxing fortunes.

Light heavyweight Hooper (9-0, 8 KOs) is scheduled to fight in Brisbane on Saturday.

“He’s a magnificent talent. Damien Hooper I think can be one of Australia’s all-time greats, I really do,” Hatton told AAP.

“His potential is that frightening.

“He’s got a long way to go, so it’s a bit of a statement from myself.

“But I think if he ticks all the boxes along the way, with the talent he’s got, that’s it’s exactly what he can be.

“He’s got freakishly long arms, he’s got a great left jab, he’s a good all rounder.

“He’s got wonderful ability. He’s got that killer instinct, in abundance.”

Hatton acknowledged Hooper sometimes got himself into strife outside the ring.

He broke Australian Olympic team rules by wearing a shirt bearing the Aboriginal flag instead of his official uniform at the 2012 London Games and has appeared in court on a number of occasions.

“He’s a colourful character to say the least, Damien, he sometimes lands himself in trouble,” Hatton said.

“But he’s an unbelievable talent, an unbelievably nice guy. a pleasure to work with and I think what he can achieve is endless.”

Browne (21-0, 18 KOs), who is ranked in the top ten of three of the world’s most established boxing bodies, fights durable New Zealander Chauncy Welliver on the Mundine-Rabchenko undercard.

“I most definitely think he’s got a world title in him, I have absolutely no doubt he is getting better,” Hatton said of Browne, who has recently started training with Australian boxing legend Jeff Fenech.

“Next year it’s going to happen for Lucas.”

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