Thaxton captures British title

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich's Jon Thaxton produced the greatest performance of his 14-year career last night to win the coveted British lightweight title.


Norwich's Jon Thaxton produced the greatest performance of his 14-year career last night to win the coveted British lightweight title.

The 32-year-old shed tears of joy as he was proclaimed a unanimous winner against title holder Lee Meager after a thrilling 12 round clash in Dagenham.

"It is amazing," said Thaxton. "I felt alright in there. I have to pay full respect to Lee Meager's chin, I gave it some right hammer.

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"I have to be honest, he did a lot of talking before the fight , but he went in as a champion and he fought as a champion. He took a lot of stick and never gave up.

"I am so proud, 14 years in the making and at last I have got hold of a Lonsdale belt."

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It was a case of third time lucky for Thaxton, who has missed out on a Lonsdale belt twice before.

He was stopped in five rounds by Jason Rowlands back in 1999 and then a year later lost a bloody 12-rounder to Ricky Hatton in the Hitman's only British title fight. And in a 37-fight career, six of Thaxton's seven prp defeats have come in title fights - the last a stoppage at the hands of Eamon Magee for his Commonwealth light-welterweight belt in february, 2002.

Thaxton had promised that defeat this would send into him into retirement for good - but from the opening bell it was apparent that he had no intention of giving up the fight game just yet.

Meager is a notoiously slow starter, but Thatxon never allowed him to get out of the blocks. A big left hand in the sceond round had Meager - as did a cut above his right eye.

Thatxon pile on the pressure in the third as he proved that his four extra years' experience were crucial.

Meager had describd Thatxon as a brawler in the bld-up to the fgitht, but the Nowich man was nothing of the sort last night, picking his moments and hitting Meager with some stunning combinations and confusing his 28-year-old opponent by constantly switching from southpaw to orthodox and back again.

If Thaxton did have a problem, it was in the shape of Meagers' jaw, which regularly took some big hits but managed to withstand them.

There was a glimmer of hope for the holder at the end of the fifth when a cut opened above Thatxon's right eye, but good work in the corner stemmed the flow.

And anyone who thought Thatxon would fade in the closing stages were proved

wrong: Thaxton simply got stronger and in the final round, instead of Meager piling forward, it was the Norwich man who went on the attack, putting his opponent on the canvas for a standing count before marching confidently towards the biggest prize of his career.

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