Thaxton inspired by his daughters

CHRIS LAKEY Jon Thaxton has revealed how wife Mikaela and daughters Ella, 5, and Kacey, 10 months, inspired him to his stunning British title success.

CHRIS LAKEY

Jon Thaxton has revealed how wife Mikaela and daughters Ella, 5, and Kacey, 10 months, inspired him to his stunning British title success.

Thaxton produced the performance of his career to take the title from Lee Meager on Friday night - and said it was thoughts of his family back home in Norwich that pushed him over the line.

"When it got to the final round all my trainer kept saying to me was, 'think of the girls, think of the girls', and there was nothing that was going to stop me," said Thaxton. "I couldn't stop thinking of them all and I just thought it was time to bang the guy out.


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"It's been such a great year with the birth of Kacey and now this."

Thaxton was back in Norwich at the weekend - a journey home from Dagenham which was punctuated with congratulatory texts from, among others, former Norwich City hero Craig Bellamy - complete with a swollen right eye and the accompanying 14 stitches in a cut that at one stage threatened to wreck his hopes of a British title for the third time.

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But some smart patch-up work in his corner and a boxing performance that left the critics drooling ensured the British lightweight crown was his.

Thaxton will now enjoy the run-up to the festive season while promoter Neil Featherby and trainer Graham Everett begin formulating plans for his first defence - and beyond. At 32, Thaxton knows that time is running out on a career that began 14 years ago -and that 2007 could be a massive year for him.

"I will let others do the talking but we will have a meeting some time next week and then see what happens," he said. "I will fight anyone. I will let Neil talk to the other promoters and we will take what deal we think is best.

"I won't box for nothing, I want to provide for my family, simple as that."

Thaxton has now won 10 in a row, having out-thought and outpunched Meager - at 28, four years his junior.

Meager had said before Friday's fight that it was his brains against Thaxton's brawn, but it turned out to be a very different story as the Norwich man combined punching power with tactical nous; he confused Meager by regularly switching from southpaw to orthodox and landed solid punches which kept the Manchester man at arm's length.

Having started well, Meager showed some signs in the fourth, but Thaxton quickly regained the initiative, his only frustrations being Meager's rock hard chin and a cut which emerged during the middle stages but was never a factor after some excellent cuts work by Dominic Ingle.

Come the 12th and final round Thaxton was streets ahead, and any hopes Meager had of a knockout finish disappeared when he was hit by a barrage of punches which left him on his backside. After that, it was simply a case of counting down the clock - and then hearing that he was a unanimous winner.

"It was hard work in there, but if it was easy we'd all be champions," said Thaxton, who had previously lost to Jason Rowland and Ricky Hatton in British light-welterweight title fights.

"I thought I was going to knock him out and after the first round it would be in the third or fourth round. I didn't want to punch myself out, but he took a lot of heavy hits - my hands are bruised and I have to take my hat off to him, he showed the heart of a champion. It wasn't just one big shot, it was a lot of big shots and I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

"But it wasn't just me in there, I was just carrying the flag. I couldn't have done it without Graham and Neil and Carl Moore, my sponsor. It was a team effort."

Thaxton actually retired from the ring four years ago after a car crash left him with a shoulder injury, but Moore's prodding pushed him back into the fight game and his reincarnation as a lightweight, under Everett's tutelage has been a resounding success.

"The thing is, Jon has one-on-one training now," said Everett. "We pay for quality sparring partners to come in and he has proper preparation for fights.

"And it's meant he has become a better boxer. His last two fights have been top drawer and he can get better.

"On Friday I believed that Jon would have too much of everything for Lee Meager if he stuck to the game plan, which he did.

"There was a lot of verbal rubbish going on pre-fight which Thaxton and us just blanked out. The only thing which did surprise me was Meager's ability to absorb a punch, which you have to give him full credit for, but in all honesty he won't want too many fights like that.

"As for Jon, he can take a well-earned week's rest and will then be back to the gym. I will be quite honest with you, I still think we haven't seen the best of Thaxton yet. He is now in his physical and mental prime and 2007 should be a great year for him and Norwich boxing."

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