Norfolk fighters have time on their side as Board suspend action

Ryan Walsh may have to wait for his Golden Contract final Picture: Mark Hewlett

Ryan Walsh may have to wait for his Golden Contract final Picture: Mark Hewlett - Credit: Archant

Norwich trainer Graham Everett has welcomed the suspension of the sport throughout the country - even if it means two of his fighters look set to miss out on big boxing nights.

Liam Goddard's York Hall is off Picture: Mark Hewlett

Liam Goddard's York Hall is off Picture: Mark Hewlett - Credit: Archant

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the British Boxing Board of Control have cancelled all events under its jurisdiction and will look again at the beginning of April.

It means Norwich fighter Liam Goddard is unlikely to make his York Hall bow on April 11, while British featherweight champion Ryan Walsh’s Golden Contract final, scheduled for the end of June, is also in serious doubt.

But Everett, who trains both fighters, says their day will come again.

“I don’t believe there will be any boxing for weeks now,” said Everett. “That is my honest and truthful opinion. I think boxing will shut up shop, and for us you couldn’t ask for a better ending with Iain Martell winning the Southern Area cruiserweight title on Saturday.

“It was a fantastic night – and what a time for a little break.

“Whatever it takes to get it right we have to do. Me, Jon Thaxton, none of us really knows what this is. It is obviously dangerous, a shocker, people say it is a life-changer – none of us knows. We can only take in what we are told by the experts.”

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As well as Goddard and Walsh, it looks likely that immediate plans for the next Norwich fight night are on hold.

“Liam is young and he can come again,” said Everett. “Ryan’s fight will possibly be put back, but Ryan will continue to train, as he always does, and he will be ready for it, as he always is. He has plenty left in him, both of them do, to come again.”

Martell pipped the boxing ban to the post with his weekend win over Jose Lopes at York Hall on Saturday.

“We have signed off boxing with a great fight,” he said. “All of us guys here in Norwich are big football fans and it is so very relevant. Coronavirus is affecting the city, the world, but us Brits are tough and hopefully, if we all look after ourselves, stay clean, stay fresh, stay away from trouble to an extent we will get through it. I am not a religious man but whoever is up there can hopefully look after all of us and we will get through it together.”

When boxing does get through the other side, Martell is clear who he wants to face – former champion Nick Parpa.

“I would like a defence against the fella who had this title before, me, Nick Parpa,” said Martell. “I will let it be known now, if that little fella wants to have a go I will bust his head all day long. I will out-box him, I will out-fight him, inside, outside wherever he wants it, I will beat that man silly. So, Nick Parpa, come and get it.”