AMIR Khan believes teenager Muhammad Ali can follow in his footsteps and become the next big thing in the Great Britain amateur ranks.

The 18-year-old is making a big impression by following the same route Bolton superstar Khan took at around the same age.

Like Khan did, Ali trains under coach Mick Jelly at Bury ABC where posters of the former two-time world champion adorn the walls in a bid to inspire young fighters to emulate his success.

But Ali, who will make his Great Britain debut in the inaugural European Games in Baku where he has his first fight today, has already gone one better than his hero by claiming an ABA title in only his third senior fight.

Khan said: "Muhammad has really caught my eye already – he's got a lot of talent and has already accomplished so much at a young age.

"They keep producing great amateurs in this country and Muhammad could be the latest who comes through in time to go to (the Olympics in) Rio and be a big success."

Ali, who travels all the way from Keighley to train at Bury, won a European junior title as well as bronze at last year's Youth Olympics.

And it can certainly do him no harm if he is to emulate the Bolton hero, that he is trained by Jelley who guided Khan through the amateur ranks and part of his early professional career.

He is rated so promising he has earned his GB bow after just three senior bouts – the three it took him to win the senior ABA 52kg title earlier this year.

Khan withdrew midway through the national championships in 2005 claiming a ticket row, and shortly afterwards turned professional.

Ali said: "Every day I train I see Amir looking down from all the posters in the gym and he's all over the newspapers so he is definitely an inspiration for me.

"When I look at what he achieved at such a young age I see no reason why I can't do the same thing and so far I have not had a problem with the step up to senior level.

"Going to the Youth Olympics has helped prepare me for Baku but it will be a great experience. Rio is definitely a realistic goal for me and doing well in Baku will only be the start."

Ali is part of a 12-strong Great Britain boxing team heading to Baku, which also includes Commonwealth Games gold medallists Antony Fowler, Joe Joyce, Nicola Adams and Savannah Marshall.

Derby's Sandy Ryan, who won a surprise silver medal at last year's Women's World Championships in South Korea, is also in the team, although fellow silver medallist Lisa Whiteside has been forced out due to injury.

Ireland have named a 12-strong boxing team headed by Olympic and world champion Katie Taylor. Fellow London Olympians Darren O'Neill and Adam Nolan will also compete.