Sam Sexton can be the pride of Norwich, says Jon Thaxton
ARCHANT EASTERN DAILY PRESS (01603) 772434
Jon Thaxton says Sam Sexton can join him in an exclusive club – as the only Norwich-born and bred fighters to bring a British title back to the city.
Thaxton – who now works alongside trainer Graham Everett – won the British lightweight crown a decade ago and will be in the corner when Sexton attempts to win the vacant heavyweight strap when he faces Gary Cornish in Edinburgh on Friday night.
Norwich has bred other British champions – Herbie Hide was a British heavyweight champion while Liam Walsh won the super-featherweight title and his twin brother Ryan has achieved the rare feat of claiming the Lonsdale belt after three defences of his featherweight title.
But Sexton, like Thaxton, is Norwich through and through.
“Sam is Norwich-born and bred and so am I and I will be so proud of him when he wins,” said Thaxton, 43. “I had my setbacks and so has Sam, but from setbacks there is always a comeback. Sam has come back and learned and doing it for himself, his daughter and for Norwich.”
Thaxton knows what the title means – it took him 14 years to achieve his dream and Sexton is trying for a third time.
“To be champion of your own country was the happiest day of my life,” he said. “Even now I get emotional just talking about it.
“When that final bell went and I knew I had won the British title I went over to my mum and dad and said ‘I’ve done it!’
“It took me 14 years, but I did it. It’s the same with Sam, this is his third attempt but the experience he has from setbacks and everything else means this is his time to put on a performance and bring the belt back.
“This is not an easy fight at all, but we are going to Edinburgh to win the title.
“I walked into the gym a few days ago and I saw Sam happy – moving and dancing. He is a happy fighter and that is a great way to be. When I was happy I was on it, I was ready to perform, and that is what I have noticed with Sam.”
Thaxton says a vital cog will be Everett, who has worked with Sexton for almost two decades.
“Graham is the mastermind,” said Thaxton. “He is such a great tactician. He was a good trainer when he used to train me – he is a fantastic trainer now. He has turned Sam and others into different class fighters.”