Rimmer and strength coach Kerry Kayes, Graham may very well ascend to the top of the heap, should Hatton pull off an upset and get past the greatly feared Kostya Tszyu on June 4. But first, Graham and Birmingham middleweight Matthew Macklin head to Dublin, Ireland where they'll face Nottingham man Michael Monaghan tonight for the Irish title.
SaddoBoxing: How has Matthew Macklin been looking in the gym?
Billy Graham: "He's been looking fantastic; the most improved fighter in the gym at the pace in which he's been learning. He's been improving quickly but it's been both a great year and a bad year. It's been a bad year for Matthew due to inactivity, as he had a broken hand and he also had his teeth knocked out in an accident at one point. That's kept him out of the ring."
SB: What can you tell us about the fight that Matthew will be in on Sunday?
BG: "Well, it takes place in Dublin and it's for the Irish title because we reckon that it'll be better for Matthew to go over as the Irish champion."
SB: Who's the opponent?
BG: "A kid called Michael Monaghan and that's after an opponent change just a couple of days ago. I've only just seen a tape of Monaghan and he looks like a tricky customer who's tough as well. Matthew has seen the tape as well and he fancies that he can beat this kid. Matthew has had rave reviews since he's come to train with me and I think that he's going to beat Monaghan so it's just a matter of trying to look good doing it. You can really see the change in Matthew since he's been training with me and I'm really excited about this fight and excited about going to Dublin. I've been to Ireland, Belfast, before but never to Dublin."
SB: What's it like for you to work with Matthew?
BG: "I buzz off working with Macklin because he improves all the time and he's desperate to succeed. He's really dedicated and it's quite exciting to work with him."
SB: Assuming all goes well in this Irish title fight, what's up ahead for Matthew?
BG: "We're going to have a couple of fights in America with the first one being sometime in June. If the fights go well then I think we'll keep fighting out of there."
SB: Is Matthew still with Frank Warren?
BG: "Not at the moment but we're not counting out going back with Frank, as things are amicable, we're just taking a little time out. We just want to be kept busy and we're just going to try things out in America. It's all got to do with there being a large Irish - American population there and Matthew's background is Irish. I think the Americans will love his style."
SB: You must be looking forward to going over to the states?
BG: "I like America and it's nice to do different things so yeah, I'm really looking forward to going."
SB: You've got a huge weekend coming up in June with Ricky Hatton going up against Kostya Tszyu.
BG: "Yeah, and I'll have a couple of my kids on the Harrison-Brodie bill the night before. I don't really like working the nightbefore a big fight but the way it turns out it might be for the best because I can’t sleep at all after working a fight! With the fact that Ricky and Tszyu are going to be fighting at 2am, it should work out perfect because I'll be awake anyway and then I can sleep all day (laughs). I've never worked the night before a Ricky Hatton fight so it should be interesting but I'll deal with it. Trust me, I'll be 100 percent on the night."
Richard Eberline can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org