Thaxton will not let his crown slip

Norwich favourite Jon Thaxton is desperate to hold on to his British lightweight title - having fought so hard his whole life to win it in the first place.

Norwich favourite Jon Thaxton is desperate to hold on to his British lightweight title - having fought so hard his whole life to win it in the first place.

Thaxton hopes to make the first successful defence of his title tonight when he faces Stoke's Scott Lawton (20-2-1) at the Norfolk Showground on the Hennessy Sports and Showdowns at the Showgrounds event.

Thaxton, who earned a unanimous points win over fellow Hennessy Sports boxer Lee Meager to be crowned champion in Dagenham in December, admits he thought he had missed his shot at the big time.

But having battled back from a near career-ending injury in 2002 after a car accident nothing was going to stand in his way.

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“It was a dream come true to win the British title, which I admit brought on a few tears because I thought it had passed me by,” he said. “I was driving close to my home with my little girl in the back when a lorry hit me and I've had shoulder pain ever since, but I get it looked after by physio.

“I was out for two years but it was the best thing that could have happened to me because it made me reflect on my mistakes. Now I have come back, I am fitter, stronger and you can't beat experience, which I've got plenty of.

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“I used to over-train and that was the main problem. My trainer used to tell me to have a day off. I used to say 'OK,' but then behind his back I would go out and train.

“The injury gave me time to reflect and made me realise I have to listen to my body more now. I became an armchair critic when I wasn't boxing. My wife said to me 'why don't you put up or shut up?', so I decided to come back and give it one last go. I didn't want to be left thinking 'what if' in a few years' time, and be left feeling bitter about things. At least I'm not complaining so much now when I watch boxing on TV!

“Life is full of ifs and buts so I thought I may as well do it now while I was still young enough. I'm just glad I listened to my wife!

“It has paid off already. I feel a better fighter and stronger than ever and you can't buy my sort of experience, which makes me a dangerous fighter in Britain right now because I have been a professional boxer since I was 18 years old.”

Friday's event, which is being covered live on Sky will also feature Esham Pickering's bid to win back the British super-bantamweight title against Marc Callaghan.

Thaxton hopes victory over Lawton will be a step towards bigger titles.

But the 32-year-old, who had earlier failed bids for the domestic crown against Hatton and Jason Rowland at light-welterweight in 2000 and 1999, has no intention of losing his grip on the title so soon after winning it.

“Scott's taller and a boxer,” he said. “He will come to have the fight of his life, and he will need to because I will be ready for him. It's a great opportunity for him, but I have been waiting too long for this to give it up so soon.”

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