‘He is an absolute beast’ – City trio train with Norwich boxer Sexton ahead of British title defence
- Credit: Copyright: Archant 2018
Christoph Zimmermann has shown he is tough enough to compete in the Championship for Norwich City – but boxing is an altogether different challenge.
The big German was one of a trio of Canaries players getting a taste of sparring as they met Norwich's heavyweight boxing star Sam Sexton ahead of his British title defence against Hughie Fury.
Alongside Onel Hernandez and Louis Thompson the strapping centre-back tested his skills at Pro Box Norwich and watched Sexton's powerful pad work.
'It's unbelievable, I'd never done boxing before,' Zimmermann said. 'It was the first time I'd tried it and seeing what he is doing 12 times for three minutes each round, you just get a feel for the madness of the stamina, power and strength.
'When you just watch from the sofa you might think 'come on it's just a few minutes' but it is pretty hard!'
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Sexton makes the first defence of his Lonsdale belt on Saturday, May 12 at the Macron Stadium in Bolton and the City players were happy to give the 33-year-old their support.
'I read some of his statistics so far and they are unbelievable, just three losses in his professional career, Commonwealth champion, defending his British title, hopefully he will win!' Zimmermann added.
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'It's good to get so close to somebody physically of those dimensions, when he is in the ring he is an absolute beast, so everyone will be keeping their fingers crossed for him for the fight.'
Hernandez couldn't hide his Cuban heritage as the adrenaline soon pumped through his veins – and Zimmermann and Thompson were getting stuck into the pad work as well.
'I think because it was just two days before a game we though maybe it was a little calm down exercise but as soon as you get the gloves on you feel like going and punching something,' Zimmermann added. 'It gets you in the mood to fight and exhaust yourself a little.
'So it was probably a bit more than we thought it would be but when you enjoy it you don't really feel it, I think we just got a bit carried away in the exercise.'
The summer signing has built a strong bond with Canaries fans this season, which have been recognised by being named as the club's PFA Community Champion for his support of events run by City's official charity, the Community Sports Foundation.
'Until three or four days ago I didn't know there was an award for what you do off the pitch,' he added. 'I am just happy to be at a club and in a country where you have those partners of a football club because where I used to play before there is nothing that can compare to this.
'I think there are so many good things the foundation does, they help so many people so I'm just happy to help with their programmes because the idea behind the whole philosophy and all the events they do is great.'