A burglar bit off more than he could chew when he broke into a restaurant owned by Norwich boxer Sam Sexton – and came face to face with the heavyweight fighter.

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Lee Holden, 36, had climbed through a window at the KO’s Sports Diner hoping to burgle the Hall Road restaurant, but instead found himself confronted by the imposing sight of 28-year-old Mr Sexton.

The former holder of the British Commonweatlth heavyweight belt had been opening up the café on the morning of Thursday, February 7, when he realised Holden had sneaked in.

And the boxer wasted no time in letting the criminal know he had picked the wrong restaurant owner to tangle with, chasing him around the back of the shop and pinning him down until police arrived.

Mr Sexton said: “I was opening up the diner at about 5.35am and he had just got in. I heard a noise, which was him just dropping in.

“I caught him in the act. I walked in and he was in there. He heard me coming and he went for the window. He’d figured out his escape route.

“I saw his legs dangling through the window. I went to grab him but he just got out so I ran around the back.

“I had to let him know that he had broken into the wrong place. I pinned him down and then I phoned the police.

“He was still pinned down when they got here. They wanted me to press charges, but I didn’t.”

However, Holden, of Heathgate in Norwich, did end up being charged. He appeared before magistrates in Norwich last week, having admitted burglary with intent to steal and cannabis possession at a hearing in February.

The court had heard how he had broken into the KO’s Sports Diner and had been found to have 5.88g of cannabis on him.

He had been due to be sentenced on Monday this week. However, the sentencing was adjourned by district judge Peter Veits so that a probation service report could be prepared.

Holden, who is being represented by solicitor James Landles, will appear at court again for sentencing on Monday, March 11.

Mr Sexton opened the KO’s sports diner, on the site of the old Pat’s Cafe, in January. He revealed at the time how the Rocky films were the inspiration behind his venture.

He said: “In the Rocky Balboa films, the last one, he opened up a restaurant. It was a boxing restaurant and he used to go in and talk to all his customers about boxing and stuff and I thought it was a really good idea.”

The diner is boxing themed, with a Wall of Fame for those who can tackle Sam’s Big KO - a giant bap filled with every type of meat imaginable plus chips and salad - which is free if finished within half an hour.

Mr Sexton has far from thrown in the towel on his boxing career, though. He will be fighting at Epic Studios in Magdalen Street on Friday, March 22.

Do you have a crime story? Call reporter Peter Walsh on 01603 772436 or email peter.walsh@archant.co.uk

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