Jon quick to defend himself

Paddy DavittNorwich's former British and European lightweight champion Jon Thaxton hit back yesterday at claims he once priced himself out of a fight with Amir Khan.Paddy Davitt

Norwich's former British and European lightweight champion Jon Thaxton hit back yesterday at claims he once priced himself out of a fight with Amir Khan.

Thaxton rejected suggestions made by Khan's father, Shah, in a national newspaper that the now retired Norfolk southpaw's financial demands sunk a potential domestic showdown earlier in the Olympic silver medallist's career.

Khan senior believes some of his son's opponents have tried to use the Bolton boxer as a 'cash cow' during his rise to clinching the WBA light-welterweight crown, which he retained at the weekend with an impressive stoppage of Paulie Malignaggi in New York.

Thaxton insisted he was even prepared to fight Khan in his rival's own backyard.

'I was British champion at the time and he was the one coming up, so to blame it on my financial demands is rubbish,' said Thaxton.

'My promoter Mick Hennessy made an offer to stage the fight which would have earned me X, so why would I then have settled for Y when it went to purse bids because Frank Warren wanted to put the fight on his bill. The truth is I would have earned three or four times more if I had accepted the offer from my promoter - so there wasn't really a choice to make. We even made the offer at the time to go and fight him in his own backyard in Bolton. That tells you how much I wanted to fight Amir.'

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The Norwich warrior was involved in some memorable scraps during his distinguished 17-year career against the likes of Ricky Hatton and Eamonn Magee.

'Look at my record,' he said. 'I never shirked anyone in my career. Anyone who has been in the game knows there are two ways a fighter gets out of bout. Either they say they are not ready, for whatever reason, or they say it is due to the financial side of things. He is a worthy champion and came back tremendously from being knocked out, but I still feel at that time I would've had a puncher's chance. You only need to connect with someone once to do the business.'

The reported comments from Khan's camp came after Malignaggi allegedly threatened to pull out of their bout unless he earned a bigger cut from US television rights.

Khan senior: 'Maybe some see Amir as a bit of a cash cow.

'They know he is big box office and they want to cash in on him. As soon as his name is mentioned, they demand extra. John Murray twice talked himself out of a fight with Amir because of the demands he made.

'Jon Thaxton was the same and you have to look at where he is now. He could have retired a little bit richer than he did.

'Boxers should want to fight Amir regardless of all that. I'm not saying fight for nothing, but you have to be realistic. If you refuse to meet their demands, you see stories that Amir did not want the fight when nothing could be further from the truth.'