Thaxton's gory glory delights fans

CHRIS LAKEY Jon Thaxton's boxing fairytale continues after a blood and guts defence of his British Lightweight Crown.


Jon Thaxton's boxing fairytale continued last night after a blood and guts defence of his British Lightweight Crown.

The Norwich favourite was back on home territory for the first time in 18 months - at the Norfolk Showground - and ensured his fan club went home happy with a seventh round stoppage over challenger Scott Lawton from Stoke.

Thaxton and Lawton had stood toe-to-toe for six rounds before the challenger began bleeding heavily from a cut to his forehead in the seventh.

Thaxton saw his chance and went for it in a big way, a huge right rocking Lawton and forcing referee Richie Davies to call a halt two minutes and 14 seconds into the round.

Thaxton has now won his last 11 fights - remarkable for a man whose career seemed all but over after a car accident in 2002 that left him with a serious shoulder injury.

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The 32-year-old had entered the ring to rapturous applause from a 2,000 strong crowd, flanked by father Ken proudly parading the Lonsdale Belt.

The Stoke man wasn't without his support either, many of whom will still be in the city today for the clash between his home town team and the Canaries.

Thaxton was facing a five inch height disadvantage and clearly took some time to work out the difference in statures before launching his first big attack, a high right hand signalling his intentions.

Lawton is well known for his prowess on the counter attack, whilst Thaxton's intentions were clear from the start - as short a night's work as possible.

Lawton got through with the right but Thaxton was targeting his opponent's head and body well and will have claimed the initiative after the opening round.

The challenger sported a bloody nose within seconds of the start of round two as Thaxton charged forward. A good left caught Lawton but he hardly flinched and slowly began to find his range. A good right had Thaxton covering up and when the bell rang for the end of the round Lawton headed to his corner with arms raised.

While Lawton was managing to land the odd punch, Thaxton's persistence meant he found it difficult to follow up. The volume increased as both men stood in Lawton's corner slugging it out.

Thaxton was warned for using his shoulder early in the fourth before a trickle of blood appeared above his right eye as the initiative appeared to swing in Lawton's favour.

The fans were on their feet at the beginning of the fifth as Thaxton came out like a raging bull, raining in blow after blow.

Lawton managed to dance his way out of danger and by the end of the sixth round it was Thaxton who appeared to have more of a spring in his step as the fight reached the half way stage.

The damage was done early in the seventh when Thaxton landed a big right that immediately saw Lawton sent back to his corner for a closer look at the cut that had formed on the bridge of his nose.

Within a minute Lawton was back in front of Thaxton but, by then, the city man could see the blood pouring out of his opponent - and went for the kill.

Another big right hand and Lawton's legs turned to jelly and as referee Davies grabbed the challenger and signalled the end of the fight Thaxton was already jumping on the corner post, hailing the 32nd victory of his 14-year career.

Local fight fans were warmed up for the main event by a trio of home successes, courtesy of Sam Sexton, Paul Davis and Danny McIntosh.

Heavyweight Sexton made it five wins on the trot with a comprehensive points win over Sheffield's Paul King.

Light heavyweight McIntosh was equally as convincing in victory over Rob Burton of Barnsley, while Davis won his third outing as a professional, stopping Omid Burzo, an Iranian fighting out of Sheffield, in the fourth round.

Great things are expected of 22-year-old Sexton, but he looked increasingly frustrated as he was unable to despatch King, although he was awarded every round by referee Ken Curtis.

A flurry of punches in the fourth round had King, 32, rocking on his heels, but the Sheffield fighter managed to hold on, preferring cautious defence to meaningful attack.

McIntosh landed a huge number of punches against a clearly outclassed Burton, but was also taken all the way by an opponent content to keep his gloves high.

Davis' outing was more controversial, the first three rounds notable for the regular intervention of referee Curtis for a confrontation that was more suited to the wrestling ring.

Burzo was docked a point for his persistent holding midway through the third round, signalling an improved showing by McIntosh, who had his man on the ropes, forcing the referee to step in near the end of the fourth to call a halt.

Newark's Esham Pickering won the vacant British super bantamweight title with a points success over Barking's Marc Callaghan.