Shot at European title is perfect compensation for Lowestoft’s Craig Poxton
- Credit: Jerry Daws / Stillfocusedmedia
Craig Poxton is walking, talking, punching proof that when one door closes, another one opens – or in his case, two.
The Lowestoft boxer was disappointed when his first Southern Area super-featherweight title defence was called off on the eve of the fight – but then began a flurry of activity that led to not so much a door, but a chasm of opportunity opening as the 28-year-old was announced as a European title challenger.
Poxton will contest the WBO European super-featherweight crown, most likely on the undercard of the Billy Joe Saunders world title fight at the Copper Box Arena in London on September 16.
It is a massive leap forward for Poxton, who stunned the boxing world when he beat the previously unbeaten red-hot favourite Boy Jones Jnr to capture the Southern Area crown in February.
'It's amazing,' said Poxton, a roofer by trade. 'It is a massive opportunity and now I can focus on the next fight.'
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European challenges were not exactly on Poxton's agenda before the Boy Jones fight. 'I always say I only think of the next fight and maybe that is just a generic answer, but no, in all honesty, it wasn't in my mind,' he said.
'You keep plugging away, then you want the Southern Area, then you want the English. These opportunities come along and if you know Jonno (trainer Jon Thaxton) and his opportunity knocks views it is 100pc right what he says – grab them. I am over the moon.'
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With Craig Whyatt's title challenge succumbing to injury on Friday, promoter Mervyn Turner and manager Graham Everett did well to come up with an opponent, although Ibrar Riyaz is never the easiest. This was his 134th fight, but 125 losses doesn't tell the story: he hasn't been stopped since May 2010 and that, coincidentally, was by Cromer's Liam Walsh, a regular sparring partner of Poxton's.
Poxton suffered a flash knockdown in the second round, but did enough to win the eight-round contest 78-74 and win an International Challenge belt.'I made it difficult for myself in there, but give him credit, he comes and has a go,' he said. 'People look down on his record, but they haven't got a clue, they just look at numbers – he can turn it on, he can swing. He caught me and fair play to him.'