AS Amir Khan plots a route that will see him bow out as Bolton boxing’s top dog, there is a commendable cast waiting in the wings to take over the mantle.

Jack Cullen currently leads the pack, having starred in front of a major TV audience in the second part of the year.

Having won the English middleweight title on home soil at the Whites Hotel in May, the man with the best nickname in boxing defended it emphatically against John Harding Jnr in Liverpool at the start of August.

‘Little Lever’s Meat Cleaver’ should have been challenging Commonwealth title holder Felix Cash that night, only for the champion to pick up an injury.

They would eventually meet at the start of November, a brave Cullen ultimately stopped in the eighth round of a thrilling contest that had the crowd at the Manchester Arena on their feet and social media purring about two future stars.

His fan-friendly style and that raucous Little Lever fanbase mean he is more than on the radar of big promoters with more opportunities likely to come the way of the Tommy Battel-trained fighter in 2020.

A division below, Jack Flatley is also looking to get himself firmly in the mix with the best super-welterweights in Britain in 2020.

On the same bill that Cullen won his English title, the Elite Boxing fighter did the same, coming out on top in potentially the non-televised fight of the year with Craig Morris.

His championship reign would be short-lived, Harry Scarff upsetting him in his first defence in September, a fight that was live on Channel 5.

But Flatley has dusted himself down impressively and after seeing off veteran Alistair Warren at the start of December, is eyeing up big nights in the new year.

He is part of a thriving Alex Matvienko stable, Bolton-based Dubliner Liam Gaynor having won five out of five as a professional while Jake Whittaker and Greg McGuinness both won their debuts last month.

Elsewhere, Osman Aslam ended his long ring absence recently and returned under new trainer Karl Ince to make it a perfect 14 fights as a professional after 13 months out.

Still only 25 and highly rated, Aslam will hope to move through the domestic rankings swiftly over the next 12 months.

Sahir Iqbal, unbeaten in seven, will also be looking to move towards title contention after a decorated amateur career with Khaleel Majid, another one on the rise with a growing fanbase, even at the early stage of his five-fight career.

The latter is managed and trained by Kieran Farrell, as is ‘Big’ Ben Thomas, who after an up-and-down start to his professional career will challenge for the Central Area super middleweight title on January 19.

That show in Wythenshawe is promoted by Joe Gallagher whose impressive stable continue to train out of Khan’s Gloves ABC gym on Prince Street.

Whatever twists and turns lie ahead for Bolton’s fighters, it’s certainly going to be a busy year.