Hatton: Khan needs warm-up

Manny Pacquiao vs Keith Thurman – Preview

Ricky Hatton has urged Amir Khan to take a warm-up fight before he heads into a domestic clash with Kell Brook.

The British rivals are yet to reach an agreement over their long-awaited fight, but promoter Eddie Hearn has admitted that progress has been made in recent negotiations.

Brook will firstly defend his IBF welterweight title against Kevin Bizier in Sheffield on March 26, but Khan has been without a scheduled bout since beating Chris Algieri on points last May.

The Bolton man was left in limbo while being overlooked by firstly Floyd Mayweather and then Manny Pacquiao, and Hatton has admitted concerns about his inactivity.

"I think Amir needs to be fighting more regularly," Hatton told Sky Sports.

"He just doesn't fight. Kell Brook, even though I'm sure he'll want the Khan fight, if the Khan fight doesn't come off he is making defences and he's keeping busy. A busy fighter is always better.

"Amir – if the Kell Brook fight does materialise – has not fought for a while which is not the greatest preparation going into a fight such as that. He has waited for Mayweather, he has waited for Pacquiao. It has not happened and Kell has been busy and fighting and improving."

Hatton much-talked about fight with Junior Witter failed to occur and the Mancunian has urged Brook and Khan to make the most of their rivalry, with plans in place for a blockbuster bout at Wembley in June.

The former two-weight world champion said: "If you can't make the Mayweather fight, if you can't make the Pacquiao fight, the next biggest fight from an earning point of view and from the publicity point of view is having a domestic rival.

"Benn and Eubank did it, George Groves and Carl Froch have done it recently and Khan and Kell Brook can do the same."

But Hatton fears that Khan's ring rust could be a factor if he does head straight into a battle with Brook.

"Amir is a bit of a pal of mine and if that fight does come off, he hasn't had the best preparation," he said.

"Styles make fights. Amir has got the ability to beat Kell Brook and Kell Brook has got the arsenal to beat Amir, but it's all about timing. At the minute, the timing for Amir is certainly not ideal, is it?"

Photos and video footage have emerged of Frank Bruno training at Hatton's gym in Manchester.

Hatton has grown friendly with the former heavyweight champion and was delighted to oversee his training session.

"Frank is one of my heroes," said Hatton. "We all know Frank, what he has done over the years and I've become quite pally with Frank in recent times.

"When you look at him, I don't think I've seen a 54-year-old man look as good, which for me is an absolute joy. He has had his troubles with all his demons which I've had also, so it's good to see him not just healthy physically but healthy mentally. He's in a nice place."