Norwich show a step up the ladder for local boxers

Iain Martell with trainer Graham Everett Picture: Mark Hewlett

Iain Martell with trainer Graham Everett Picture: Mark Hewlett - Credit: Archant

If ever there was evidence of the value of local boxing shows it will be scattered around the audience at Norwich's Airport Holiday Inn on Friday night.

As a quartet of local boxers take to the ring, in the audience will be the likes of Sam Sexton, Liam and Ryan Walsh and Billy Bird.

All have been – and in some case still are – through the initiation boxers have to go through before they can attempt to attain new levels. Local shows don't guarantee a successful career – but they go a long way towards providing a step up the ladder.

Iain Martell, Liam Goddard, Connor Vian and Owen Blunden are at varying steps of that ladder with tonight's show intended to endorse their credentials.

Cruiserweight Martell tops the bill, but there is a team ethic that suggests all have claims.

'It is a team,' said trainer Graham Everett. 'Everybody is top of the bill in our group. I guess Iain as a cruiserweight and last on takes that, but we go out as a group.

'Liam is a really exciting fighter, a good prospect and somebody I like working with, I just hope we can keep giving him opportunities – I don't think he will be looking for a long apprenticeship.'

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Martell and Goddard also have that valuable asset: a good local fan base.

'That's vital nowadays,' said Everett.

'Even at the top level - you need to fill arenas and if people don't come out to watch or pay per view then they are not interested. It is genuinely a business.

'We can't stress to people enough, you need to come out and support these boys.

' There is nothing like live boxing. We are doing everything to keep live boxing going here and we and we need everyone's support.

'I know there are boxers around the country who have to sell tickets to box elsewhere and it is so difficult to get into coaches and cars and trains to go off to Essex, London or wherever – it gets harder and harder.

'It is such a pleasure just to box at home and get everyone out to support. Our shows have been brilliant but we must keep them going.

'If these shows disappear there will be no homegrown fighters.'

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