WE have already had one great boxing tussle live on television this year and plenty more are set to rock the sporting world in 2017.

After James DeGale and Badou Jack’s recent classic in New York, another blockbuster fight will keep insomniacs like myself up into the wee small hours on Sunday when Carl Frampton faces Leo Santa Cruz in a rematch of their 2016 world title clash in Las Vegas.

Frampton’s recent history should indicate another great watch but then he is not alone in the coming weeks and months.

The sport is booming at present on UK shores with so much interest in domestic fighters.

DeGale and Frampton are joined by Bolton-based stars like Anthony Crolla and Callum Smith who line up in their own huge clashes in the ring this spring.

Stablemate from Bury, Scott Quigg – who had his own classic against Frampton just under a year ago – is in line for a second fight at featherweight after a successful return before Christmas and Amir Khan is hotly-tipped to take on British rival Kell Brook this year in a mouthwatering match-up.

When you consider we haven’t even mentioned the David Haye v Tony Bellew grudge match and Anthony Joshua’s keenly-anticipated showdown with Wladimir Klitschko in front of more than 80,000 fans at Wembley, it is easy to see why a big boxing fan like myself is excited about the year ahead.

Britain has always had a great tradition in but it is hard to remember a time when we had so many contenders at the highest level. And little old Bolton plays a big part in that with Gallagher’s Gym at Khan’s Gloves Community Centre in Halliwell.

Every time I pop down for a pre-fight interview or to catch up with Quigg, Crolla or Gallagher, it always amazes me how much success is spurned from a back-street outside the town centre.

Most of those doing their big shop next door in Aldi will probably be unaware that world champions might be a stone’s throw away, putting in the hours of commitment needed to be the best.

Who needs the Rocky steps?

As Gallagher rightly said to me after he scooped the prestigious Ring Magazine Trainer of the Year award 12 months ago, Bolton folk can be proud.

The renowned coach may be a Mancunian but he feels as honoured as any to represent boxing in this town and putting it on the sporting map can only be a positive for the next generation of talent we have already witnessed coming through like Osman Aslam or Jack Flatley from Elite Gym down the road from Gloves.

Who knows? In a few years they may be the star attractions selling out arenas, keeping that British flag flying high in the sport and leading the way as proud Boltonians.