Baby daughter gives Sexton fresh incentive to succeed

Sam Sexton's heavyweight comeback has been given a boost – by his six-week-old daughter Connie.

The Norwich heavyweight steps into the ring against Hastings Rasani tonight, determined to shrug off the memories of a difficult 2010, when his mother's serious illness took his mind off the ring – and a second defeat of his career at the hands of Dereck Chisora exacerbated the pain.

But the wheel of fortune has turned in Sexton's favour in recent months, with the birth of Connie to him and partner Lauren bringing a smile back to his face.

Sexton has been back in the ring, sparring, with Chisora in preparation for his trip to the O2 Arena this weekend and while the memory of their meeting last September is fresh in the mind, the 26-year-old is looking forward to his comeback fight.

'I just wished last year never happened,' said Sexton. 'It was a really bad year for me all round, in boxing and in my personal life as well and I just don't think my mind was there on the night.

'I was fit, I trained hard, my running was good, the gym was good, but in my head I just didn't want to be there. Now I am enjoying being in the gym, I am loving it in fact, so my head is there again.

'And I have a beautiful little girl – I can't complain. People say it is hard work being a dad, but for me I find it pretty easy, she's as good as gold.

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'It's really weird – she has been here only for a few weeks, but it seems like she has always been there. You just can't explain how much you love your own child and it has definitely given me a new boost.

'It is something for me to fight for – I want my little girl to be proud of me and I want to give her stuff that I didn't perhaps have when I was growing up. I want her to be secure.'

Trainer Graham Everett has been delighted by the link-up with Chisora and while they may be going their separate ways for a while, he is confident Sexton's journey back to the top of the domestic scene begins on Saturday.

'The situation is that Sam is the number three ranked heavyweight in Britain and he is one warm-up fight away from a title, an English title or something,' said Everett.

'Maybe (promoter) Frank Warren will take him down the European route, but at the end of the day he is a championship quality fighter. At 26 he is not near the end of the road, not at all. This is his first step back at the 02 and he is very fit and very ready and we are back in there.

'Nobody likes losing, but there are plenty more good young heavyweights out there for him to fight. Stranger things have happened – Sam and Dereck may one day come together again and you can guarantee it will be another great fight.

'There are plenty of directions to go – Dereck will probably look to beat Tyson Fury next and move on to the world stage and obviously we will come in the slipstream.

'It is a good division now, with lads like David Price and Tom Dallas – obviously David Haye is world stage and I think Dereck will be – it is an exciting division and good times.

'Sam is a very, very good boxer. He will learn from his mistakes and he knows exactly what he has got to do – he has got to get back in there and make a good statement and get right back in the mix, and he definitely can.'

Sexton appears on the undercard of James DeGale's British and Commonwealth super-middleweight title clash against George Groves.

DeGale has vowed to avenge his 2005 amateur defeat by Groves before moving on 'to bigger and better things' and targeting a world title.

The showdown is the culmination of a six-year feud stemming from their rivalry as amateur stablemates and Groves' victory en route to winning the national ABA championships.

DeGale insists he was 'robbed' by the judges then and the sense of injustice remains, despite his 2008 Olympic glory.

The 25-year-old said: 'I've waited six years for this. I was robbed six years ago and this is the story. It all adds up. He beat me as an amateur – well, 'beat me' in inverted commas – but I went to the Olympic Games for our country and won a gold medal.

'Now we're both professionals so let's see who is the best now.'

Also tonight, Nathan Cleverly meets Poland's Aleksy Kuziemski after a turbulent week which has seen his on-off world title dream change almost daily.

Cleverly was set to challenge Juergen Braehmer for the WBO light-heavyweight title until the German pulled out – only for the WBO to strip him and make Cleverly champion.

His domestic rival Tony Bellew then stepped in only for problems making the weight to force him out.

Cleverly will therefore face little-known Pole Aleksy Kuziemski.