Sergey Rabchenko is quickly closing in on a world title shot, but cannot afford to overlook his next task according to trainer Ricky Hatton.
The unbeaten Belarusian, 26, will make the second defence of his European light-middleweight crown against Italian champion Adriano Nicchi in Monte Carlo on March 30.
And the Hitman believes it's a challenge his charge has to be fully focused on or a potential showdown with WBC kingpin Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez can be kissed goodbye.
"Sergey can see that world title on the horizon now, but isn't ready just yet so needs to continue to impress again in Monaco," Hatton said.
"In defending his European title, Sergey is fast climbing the world rankings and has a lot of people excited due to his explosive punching power.
"Although this is another tough defence, it's one we're confident he will come through."
Rabchenko's clash with Nicchi features on the same bill as Gennady Golovkin's world middleweight title fight with Nobuhiro Ishida and the Million Dollar Super Four tournament featuring super-middleweight hopefuls Edwin Rodriquez, Zsolt Erdei, Denis Grachev and Ezequiel Osvaldo Madena.
Rabchenko is currently ranked as the World Boxing Council's (WBC) number two challenger at 154lbs and victory on March 30 is expected to put in line for a world title eliminator this summer.
Tags: Ricky Hatton , Sergey Rabchenko