Norwich hero Sam Sexton brings home British heavyweight belt after beating Gary Cornish
- Credit: John Rainford/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich heavyweight Sam Sexton is the new champion of Britain.
The 33-year-old claimed the vacant crown in Edinburgh on Friday night with a unanimous points victory over Scotland's Gary Cornish.
It was Sexton's third attempt at the title, having lost out to Dereck Chisora and David Price in the past, and last night's outing was arguably his final chance.
But he took it with both mighty hands at the Meadowbank Sports Centre.
Sexton went into the fight as favourite, but it was never going to be straightforward – he hadn't been in the ring for a year and was giving away a stone in weight to the taller Cornish, who is three years younger.
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But trainer Graham Everett had said throughout the training camp that Sexton's experience would tell – and it did.
Sexton, wearing a Union Flag on his shorts, was booed as he entered the ring, but looked calm and relaxed.
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The opening round was the usual cat and mouse, neither man wanting to commit too early. But Sexton launched the first combination before Cornish responded with a big right – although the Scot appeared to have a nick over his left eye as the bell went.
Sexton was on the front foot using the jab well in the second, but with so much at stake, neither fighter was prepared to fully commit.
Sexton looked more comfortable in the third and arguably edged ahead, with Cornish looking reluctant to take up the home fighter role and turn on the power. Cornish did try and unload more in the fourth, but Sexton wasn't ruffled - but midway through the fifth, Cornish finally showed his power as a big right had Sexton's legs off balance. To his credit, Sexton regained his composure and by the end of the round Sexton had caught Cornish with a right of his own, not so quite as effective.
Sexton's own power button was pressed early in the sixth and it was Cornish's turn to wobble, blood coming from his nose.
A cracking Sexton counter-punch had Cornish worried and by the end of the seventh it was clear the home fighter was playing catch-up. Try as he might, Cornish couldn't close the gap as Sexton and his team managed the fight superbly. The judges scored it 116-114, 116-113 and 115-114.