Bigger and better
Claiming the Commonwealth title will be the making of Norwich heavyweight Sam Sexton, according to his trainer Graham Everett.Sexton upset the odds with a stunning eighth round success against Northern Ireland's Martin Rogan in front of a partisan crowd in Belfast on Friday.
Claiming the Commonwealth title will be the making of Norwich heavyweight Sam Sexton, according to his trainer Graham Everett.
Sexton upset the odds with a stunning eighth round success against Northern Ireland's Martin Rogan in front of a partisan crowd in Belfast on Friday. And now Everett believes the 24-year-old is on the verge of great things after his brilliant victory in the 'lion's den'.
After out-boxing Rogan, Sexton was ahead on the judges' scorecards before a thrilling eighth round which saw the Norfolk man rocked and hurt by the home fighter.
But he came out on top after referee Dave Parris declared Rogan unfit to continue, after advice from the ringside doctor, with his left eye closed due to bad swelling.
It was the win Sexton fully deserved in the most intimidating place he'd been to, said Everett yesterday.
“To me Sam ticked a lot of boxes,” he said. “He went in the trenches and came out victorious. I personally believe this will be the making of him. He'll move on to bigger and better things. The biggest thing he'll get from this is self-belief, because he went into the lion's den and came out on top. At 24 I think he's got a great future ahead of him. I'm proud of Sam - he stepped up to the plate as far as I'm concerned.”
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Sexton had 10 weeks' hard training ahead of the fight and Everett said his preparation was the key to his success against a previously undefeated opponent who claimed the title himself back in February.
“When the fight was announced, I always felt Sam had the tools to do the job,” Everett said. “The training was hard, with some good times and some bad times in the gym.
“But we worked very, very hard, and he was in great shape, with some great work done by Neil Featherby conditioning-wise, and with myself, and it all paid off on the night.
“Out-think him, out-box him and keep him off balance - that was the plan. Apart from the eighth, when he backed into a corner, he did that to a T.”
Sexton could now turn his attention to fighting for the British and European heavyweight titles, while Rogan's camp is already calling for a re-match.
But Everett says nothing has been decided and will wait and see what offers come Sexton's way before deciding his next move.
“It's all down to the promoter, Frank Warren,” he said. “Sam will take a week off, then we'll sit down and see what they've got to offer. Money talks, that's the thing. We'll have to dust ourselves down and see where we go.
“Derek Chisora's fighting Danny Williams for the British title. Could we fight the winner? That would be a great fight for the British and Commonwealth title.”
Meanwhile, the new champion is delighted to have come away from with the belt after taking on Rogan - and his backing of 10,000 fans.
“That was the most hostile place on earth,” he said. “Obviously, I came in and they all wanted blood, they were there for their man Martin Rogan, but I just had to block that out.
“As I came through the tunnel they were throwing drinks at me, even spitting at me, but I only had one focus and that was the ring.”