Norfolk boxing scene in rude health ahead of fight night
PUBLISHED: 08:00 22 July 2017
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Five years ago, Norwich trainer Graham Everett joined forces with promoter Mervyn Turner, their mission to create regular fight nights in Norwich to help local boxers.
The fight scene had drifted somewhat and up-and-coming local fighters had nowhere to showcase their talent, relying on away bills – and in formative career development, it puts a fighter on the back foot.
What Everett wanted was an opportunity for boxers to enjoy local support, to grow in confidence and develop – to be given a fighting chance.
The plan is working, although as Everett concedes, it is a work in progress. The likes of Nathan Dale, Craig Poxton and Scott Moises have used the fight nights to their advantage; others, like Sam Sexton and Ryan Walsh, had already done their time, earned their spurs - and continue to trade on a higher domestic and world stage.
The local ‘band’ has expanded too: there are boxers from Suffolk and Essex who make the regular commute to Everett’s Kickstop Gym, while tonight’s latest fight night - at the Epic Centre in Norwich – includes a fighter from Peterborough.
“You can see it is a real work in progress – it has been a lot of hard work, in the gym from the boys but also from Mervyn as well, but I can’t thank him enough,” said Everett.
Everett and Jon Thaxton provide the local talent, but a hallmark of the Norwich shows has been the match-making, which has to be spot on to please the paying public and satisfy the needs of fighters – a succession of easy home wins does no one any favours.
“We’ve had some defeats and draws, but these things happen,” said Everett. “As long as a fighter learns from that defeat. Nathan lost last time to a very good boxer, but he is champing at the bit now.”
He came to us with one win and two defeats, very disillusioned with boxing. He teamed up with myself, Mervyn and Matt Smith and the rest is history. The pinnacle was his fantastic win last time against Boy Jones which won him the Southern Area super-featherweight title, which he now defends. He has got his homecoming, which is just reward. He’s a good lad, a grafter and him and Matt are great. He’s a throwback – he gets up, runs, works all day, then hits the gym.
He has a Challenge belt fight - he’s a great lad, a credit to himself and everyone around him. He gives us everything he has got and you can’t ask for more. I didn’t think he would be as good as he is – but he is good and he is getting better and improving all the time. The Southern Area is where we are looking for.
He is big news because of his standing in MMA, very well respected. We all know about his KO capabilities, but this is a different ball game. He hasn’t lost his power – he has over the last couple of years learned to box and has done rounds and rounds with Sam Sexton and it has brought his boxing on leaps and bounds. There is a really exciting road ahead and everybody is looking forward to it.
We are working with his weight – we may eventually go to lightweight but he will probably come out at light welter this time. He has a tough fight against Nathan Hardy – he beat his brother Ryan once. It is a tough comeback fight. He has had bad luck with injury but has worked really hard – he is a great lad and a pleasure to work with.
He’s a heavyweight from Ipswich, with one fight, one win. He is a good lad who comes and spars with Sam Sexton. He is a good prospect – Mervyn manages him and he trains in Ipswich. He is a decent acquisition. It is a congested division, there is a lot going on at the minute, it is a good scene. He has no amateur experience but he has to aspire to getting himself up into that top league.
Has a great army of fans. Great learner who has been sparring a lot with Nathan. A member of the 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, in Colchester, the welterweight trains with Russell Smith and it is a pleasure to have him part of the team. He mixes a tough job with being a pro boxer.
He trains with Steve Whitwell at St Neots – I don’t know much about him but I have heard he is a good little fighter with lots of fans.