Sexton sets sights on lifting heavyweight division

Former standout amateur Sam Sexton insists he can be the new face of British heavyweight boxing and give the domestic division a much-needed boost. The Norwich fighter is in Germany sparring with Richel Hersisia, the Dutchman who was out-pointed by London’s 2000 Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison in 2004, ahead of his fifth professional fight on the Hennessy Sports and bill at the Norfolk Showground on March 16..

Sexton, 22, is part of an interesting undercard to the two main events: British title fights involving Norwich’s Jonathan Thaxton against Stoke challenger Scott Lawton for the Lightweight crown and Newark’s Esham Pickering against Barking’s Marc Callaghan for the Super-Bantamweight belt.

Unbeaten after four fights as a professional, Sexton claims it will not be long before he is challenging for minor titles.

“The people we have got at heavyweight at the moment like Danny Williams, Michael Sprott, Matt Skelton and Scott Gammer are all getting old. It is the ones that are coming through that you have got to keep an eye on,” said Sam, who mixes his boxing as a self-employed foundations engineer.

“The likes of myself, Ian Millarvie from Scotland, David Haye and Darlington’s Chris Burton are all unbeaten and it won’t be long.

“I’m not far off boxing someone like Micky Steeds. A few more fights and I will be ready. My goal this year is to have a few more fights and then go for the Southern Area title.

“Ideally I would like to box every six weeks, but it’s hard getting opponents at heavyweight.

“The heavyweight division is in a slump on the British scene and world scene. There isn’t the likes of Lennox Lewis or Frank Bruno any more, but there are decent up-and-coming heavyweights here in Britain that are going to bring in a new breed of heavyweight in this country.

“Heavyweights are getting bigger and bigger, so I’m okay in that respect. I’m just gaining more experience now.”

At six foot four inches, the 22-year-old is well equipped to survive in today’s world of giant heavyweights.

Sam forced his first stoppage win in his last fight in Norwich, when he halted Lee Mountford in the second of six two-minute rounds.

In his only other fight last year, Sam won a 40-36 verdict after four rounds against Istvan Kecskes at the York Hall in Bethnal Green on a Hennessy Sports event in May.

Sexton got his career off to a successful start by out-pointing Paul Bonson in six two-minute rounds at Carrow Road in September 2005.

Sam stayed in Norwich for his second pro fight three months later with an impressive points win after six two-minute rounds against Jason Callum. Sexton floored his opponent in the first round before earning a wide 60-53 verdict off referee Lee Cook.

Last year Sexton sparred with top British heavyweights Matt Skelton, Scott Gammer and Danny Williams.

He said: “I couldn’t get much better sparring than that in Britain, but they haven't got long left in the game so I'm looking to step in their shoes when they go soon."

Sexton won an ABA Youth title, a Four-Nations gold and a Multi-Nations gold and reached the ABA Senior quarter-finals.

Now he is learning his trade in the professional game and reckons the best way to do that is by sparring more experienced fighters like Hersisia.

“The sparring is great, it’s a learning curve and this is the best way to learn against more experienced boxers,” he said. “I’ve been all over England sparring our best, and over to Denmark and now Germany. It’s brilliant experience and I want to do more of it.”

Article posted on 08.03.2007

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