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Norwich’s Graham Everett and Jon Thaxton deserve more praise – Billy Bird

PUBLISHED: 17:40 19 September 2018 | UPDATED: 17:41 19 September 2018

Billy Bird with trainers Jon Thaxton, left, and Graham Everett Picture: Mark Hewlett

Billy Bird with trainers Jon Thaxton, left, and Graham Everett Picture: Mark Hewlett

© 2013 Mark Hewlett

Norwich training duo Graham Everett and Jon Thaxton are “the most under-rated in the country” – according to their latest title hope.

Billy Bird goes into battle against Adam Harper in Brentwood on Friday night bidding to become the new English light-welterweight champion.

The 25-year-old has spent the past five years travelling across borders to work under the watchful eye of Everett and former British lightweight champion Thaxton in Norwich and has become a regular on local fight nights. For the past seven weeks, the city has been his home from Monday to Friday as he sacrificed ‘normal life’ in pursuit of glory. And Bird – who won the Southern Area title in March - insists the Norwich trainers are the key to his success

“Graham and Jon are the most under-trainers in Britain and just don’t get enough credit,” said Bird, who lives in Braintree. “Graham does a lot of thinking about the sport – he doesn’t shout and scream, but every bit of advice works. He always wants you to be one step ahead.

“I started off with no amateur background. I came straight from unlicensed boxing and Graham and Jon over the last five years have got me to here. One thing I like with Graham and Jon is that it isn’t a case of ‘you won that, well done’, it is ‘you won that, now this is what we will work on’

Billy Bird in the Norwich Gym Picture: Chris LakeyBilly Bird in the Norwich Gym Picture: Chris Lakey

“I have had two fights this year and there have been a few things we have picked up from each fight which we keep adapting and changing – and every fight I have had I have improved.

“I have won a challenge belt, I have won the Masters belt when it was about, I have won the Southern Area and now it is time for me to bring this title back home. I am 25, I am still maturing as a man and it is a case of working on things.”

Should Bird beat Harper to the vacant English title, thoughts will, inevitably, turn to bigger things – and Bird is in good company at the Norwich gym where he works alongside former British super-featherweight champion Liam Walsh and his twin brother Ryan, who is current British featherweight champion.

“To get among the British title fighters would mean the world to me,” said Bird. “I know what it means to the other lads and I want some of that for myself as well.”

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