Blows for city fighters in a night to forget

Evening News 2421st July, 2009

Norwich boxing suffered a double set-back on Saturday with defeats for both Jon Thaxton and Danny McIntosh.

Plans for Thaxton to use a light-welterweight bout against Tom Glover as a warm-up for a potential British lightweight title fight against John Murray back-fired as he was beaten on points over eight rounds at Bethnall Hall.

And McIntosh's unbeaten record ended with a resounding seventh-round stoppage at the hands of Commonwealth champion Nathan Cleverly in a fight for the vacant British light-heavyweight crown.

Thaxton could argue that he only lost by virtue of a penalty point deducted for holding as the referee gave Essex brickie Glover the verdict by 77-76 at the end of a thrilling see-saw battle. He also gave away a lot of weight to the welterweight from Maldon, who admitted it was one of the reasons he took the fight.

It was not exactly the return to the ring Thaxton would have wanted after losing his European light-welterweight title to Anthony Mezaache in February. But the 34-year-old insisted afterwards that he did not believe his tenth professional defeat would put the Murray fight in doubt - or make him consider retiring.

He said: "I love the game and I love nights like tonight. It's the way I am.

I don't regret taking the fight - I just love to fight. I want to fight all the time. I can promise you when I go back to lightweight against John Murray it will be a very different story - definitely."

Thaxton was originally due to face an African fighter, only for the British Boxing Board of Control to intervene. He knew it was going to be hard, saying: "I was analysing his last fight for TV and I said that he was a lot better than his record showed - and he has proved that.

"I was fighting out of my weight category and one thing he's got is that he's very strong. Physically I was ready, but mentally it was very hard to get motivated for an eight-round fight. But he fought a hell of a fight."

McIntosh continued his bullish build-up to his big night in a sometimes ill-tempered slug-fest against Cleverly.

His goading of the Welshman, both verbally and physically, backfired when Cleverly floored him twice in the second round and, though McIntosh gamely survived, he was losing every round and was caught once too often in the seventh round.

But afterwards McIntosh, a former kick-boxer who had lost for the first time in 11 pro contests, was lavish in his praise: "He's a brillant fighter," he said.

"Before the fight I had every faith that I would beat him but he proved tonight that he's the best in Britain. He's the man."