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Trainer plotting early route to title shot for rising Norwich star Goddard

PUBLISHED: 14:00 17 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:00 17 March 2019

Liam Goddard on the attack during another impressive win, this time over Sergio Gugliotta Picture: Mark Hewlett

Liam Goddard on the attack during another impressive win, this time over Sergio Gugliotta Picture: Mark Hewlett

© 2013 Mark Hewlett

Trainer Graham Everett says he will not hesitate to throw young prospect Liam Goddard into a title fight if the offer came along.

Connor Vian on his way to victory over Kristaps Zulgis Picture: Mark HewlettConnor Vian on his way to victory over Kristaps Zulgis Picture: Mark Hewlett

Goddard is one of Norwich’s bright young things and enhanced his growing reputation with his third win a row in Norwich on Friday, looking classy in a four-round win over the tough Sergio Gugliotta.

If Goddard is to compete at the highest level he will need to dispose of boxers who offer different challenges: Gugliotta’s was heads-down, forward motion and awkward, but Goddard handled it with ease.

“Every box he ticks helps us no end and I am not messing about with Liam,” Everett said. “I need to keep him on it, I need to keep him in the gym, I need to keep him focused and the plan with him will be maybe one more four-rounder and then I want him on six-rounders. He has a huge fan base and that support will push him on.

“Once he has done a six-rounder, once I get an opportunity I will take it and if he gets an opportunity for a Southern Area or something, I will take it. Three or four fights and if it is the right opportunity I will take it. If not he will have more fight and then do it.

Owen Bluden stands over Reece Smith Picture: Mark HewlettOwen Bluden stands over Reece Smith Picture: Mark Hewlett

“It’s not a case of fast-tracking him, but I think he has skills to thrills I think he is a very clever boxer, intelligent, loves a fight.”

Goddard has an unerring ability to quickly extricate himself from any potential tight spots of bother.

“That is something I have been encouraging him to do a lot,” said Everett. “I have said before he should model himself on Joe Calzaghe - throw plenty of punches and move well, good, high work rate. He has to learn to punch inside a little bit more but on the outside he is nice and fast.”

Goddard himself quickly saw the value of good footwork. “In the first stages of the first round a few shots woke me up because my feet were planted and as soon as soon as I felt them, I thought ‘now I need to box and move’ and the foot movement came with that,”

Goddard has benefited from sparring with British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh, and takes in every word.

“When you are putting the work in with a current British champion, you need to learn from that because it is the best sparring you will get,” he said. “If he is giving me his time, I will take every second of it.”

Norwich cruiserweight Iain Martell suffered disappointment when he lost his opponent on the day of the fight, but was able to get on to a show in Bedford on Saturday night when, giving away three stone, he beat heavyweight Phil Williams 40:36.

Connor Vian avoided ‘a banana skin’ as he prepares for what could be his first title fight.

Everett revealed that an announcement on Vian’s next fight would be made on Monday – and that suggests the outing is likely to have more than just pride at stake.

Vian, a serving para who lives at Briston in north Norfolk, was a 39:37 winner over Kristaps Zulgis. Zulgis made life difficult with his significant height advantage, but Vian likes to vary his work and left the Latvian looking somewhat one-dimensional.

“There will be some huge news on Monday,” said Everett.

“This was a big test but Connor got through it really well. The lad he faced was strong – he is a former national amateur champion and a strong, strong kid.

“I was told he was coming to win, which is what we want - a lovely warm-up for what Connor is getting.”

Norwich welterweight Owen Blunden stopped Reece Smith in the first round to make it two wins out of two as a pro. Smith goaded Blunden, who reacted swiftly with an attack that left Smith on the canvas and unable to beat the count.

“Owen was getting well on top,” said Everett. “I’m really pleased with him – he has improved immensely over the last few weeks.

“He’s in the gym every day, and he is in good company. He’s working hard and is very fit and getting stronger all the time. He is a work in progress”

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