Lonsdale belt winners are perfect inspiration for Norfolk products
Archant © 2013
Four Norfolk-raised British champions – past and present – will be under one roof on Saturday, all supporting those who dream of wrapping a Lonsdale belt around their waist.
Their presence at Epic Studios on Saturday won’t be lost on Iain Martell, Zaiphan Morris, Billy Bird, Connor Vian, Fabio Wardley, Joe Hurn and Alan Ratibb, who are all seeking to emulate the Gang of Four.
Twins Ryan and Liam Walsh – current bantamweight champion and former super-featherweight champion respectively – newly-crowned heavyweight king Sam Sexton and former lightweight belt holder turned trainer Jon Thaxton have all been there, seen it, done it.
“We’ve had four British champions since 2000,” said Graham Everett, who has trained them all. “We have two present holders, one still active who relinquished (Liam Walsh) and one former.
“Everybody knows who they are and can remember them so it will be nice to have them all in the same building.”
On show on Saturday will be a group of Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex boxers who are helping to build Norwich’s position as an East Anglian boxing hub.
“Not all of them were huge talents or well represented in the amateurs and to be honest we have had to do quite a lot of work with them,” said Everett. “Some of them have come off the unlicensed circuit, but I like to think we have done a good job with them. This is the breeding ground for all of them, it gives them a start, a chance.”
Lowestoft’s Craig Poxton is a good example: the Southern Area super-featherweight champion benefited from a second ‘start’ to his pro career,
“He came to us with a one win and two defeats record, and he has now been in two fights of the year in the last year on good shows on live TV on a Friday and Saturday night - that is what you call progress and from top to bottom that is what you call doing a good job.
“Everybody has got to follow suit. It is great for those guys to come into the gym and play catch-up, look at somebody in the gym and be full of admiration, watching their work ethic and their ability and looking to copy it and move on and emulate what they are doing.”