YOUNG boxers dreaming of fighting in America are hoping Ricky Hatton will help them achieve their goal.
The Vauxhall Amateur Boxing Club have been invited to New York by Ring 8, a veterans boxing association who have close ties with the Ellesmere Port club.
The club hopes to send two senior boxers in their 20s to an event in the Catskill mountains, along with six to eight boxers aged 11-16, but need to raise the money to do it.
That is where their links with Manchester's Hatton - the reigning WBA welterweight champion - could come in useful.
Secretary of the Vauxhall club John Smurthwaite said: 'We need to raise about £10,000 or there may be people paying their own way.
'We will have to see what we raise and cut our cloth accordingly.
'But we hope to have some fundraising dinners, and our best plan is to get Ricky Hatton in September. We have contacts with him from when he was an amateur.
'We gave him some advice when he turned professional and after words with us he became a lot better reimbursed for his efforts. He has always remembered us for that.
'He is resting up and on holiday at the moment so we will hopefully get to know next week.'
The boxers fly out on September 13 for five days, and the money raised will cover flights and food, with the Americans sorting out the accommodation.
'It is like having friends across the sea,' said John. 'They look after you. Our chairman has been involved with them since 1998 and it was his vision to get there originally. We have been twice in 1998 and 2000, and they have come here.'
Channel 4 even followed the boxers out on their last trip and produced a documentary, narrated by poet Roger McGough.
Ring 8 have some famous names in their midst, including Sugar Ray Robinson, Jack Dempsey, Jake LaMotta and Juan Laporte, who Barry McGuigan fought against on his way to the world title.
John said: 'Matching up boxers is difficult because there has to be a lot of trust. They will probably be billing it is as England versus America, or New York against Liverpool!
'It is a prestigious trip, a once in a lifetime event.
'If you are a young boxer living in Ellesmere Port, going to New York, then that is something else.'
Anyone wanting to sponsor the club can call John Smurthwaite on 0151 678 9984.
Vauxhall ABC's Paul Butler and Matty Fagan struck gold at the Junior Four Nations Championships in Liverpool last week. For more on their superb triumph - and their preparations for representing England in Ireland on July 6 - see next week's Pioneer.