ANTHONY Crolla will present Ricky Burns with as tough a fight as he has ever faced. That is the assessment of Scotland's Jason Easton, who has been sparring away with the former WBA lightweight champion in Bolton in the lead-up to Saturday's eagerly-awaited bout with Burns at the Manchester Arena.

It is quite a statement when you consider that the veteran Scottish fighter has been in with Terence Crawford, Julius Indongo and in 2013 fought for 10 rounds against Raymundo Beltran with a broken jaw.

Easton, who has a perfect record from his 10 fights, is preparing to put his IBO Inter Continental Super Lightweight belt on the line on the undercard of the Josh Taylor fight at the Royal Highland Centre in Ingliston on November 11, has been very impressed by Crolla. The 30-year-old Mancunian has form against Scottish opponents, having taken care of Glasgow's Willie Limond by unanimous decision in 2011 at the Ravenscraig Sports Centre in Motherwell.

"I've been sparring a lot with Crolla and it has been a good experience," said Easton. "He's a great fighter who doesn't give too much away. He's got a very good defence and he's very fit. So it will be a tough fight for both of them.

"If I talked about any weaknesses he might have that Ricky can exploit that would be a bit disrespectful. He [Crolla] has been good to me inviting me down there to spar so I am not going to give anything away.

"But I think this will be as tough as any fight Ricky has had. Crolla has fought at the highest level and is a former world champion. And in his last two fights he has fought Jorge Linares and gone the distance in both.

"He is an absolute gentleman too. But he's a different guy when he steps into the ring. He didn't give much away in sparring. We have been doing about eight rounds and it is an absolute sauna in the gym."

While his own next opponent is yet to be revealed, Easton is following in Taylor's slipstream at Cyclone Promotions, where he recently signed a long-term deal, and may not have to wait long before he takes the bigger billing that his talents deserve. Ranked the No 7 fighter in Europe by the EBU, Easton knows money-spinning fights await in the future if he can continue his current rate of progression.

"I've taken a massive jump in training and I'm feeling very fit, strong and sharp," he said. "I'm starting to look very sharp in sparring. It's amazing being part of the Cyclone set-up and the Taylor thing. I've been involved in exciting fights in my last few and that's got people talking about me and got me into the top 10. Cyclone have developed some of the most exciting boxers in Britain and Ireland so I know I’m with the best team possible to take me to the top.”