30.11.06 – Lee Meager – who defends his British Lightweight Title against mandatory contender Jon Thaxton at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham on December 8th live on Sky Sports – has got that winning feeling. In addition to his own Championship achievements, the 28-year-old is surrounded by success as a member of Hennessy Sports – arguably the #1 promotional outfit in the country..
He trains alongside fellow domestic champions Carl Froch (super middleweight) and Lenny Daws (light welterweight) under trainer Robert McCracken at the Hennessy Sports training facility in London, as well as upcoming British Title challenger Howard Eastman (middleweight) and John O’Donnell – arguably the country’s best prospect.
Other squad members include WBC light welterweight champion Junior Witter, WBC Youth Lightweight champion John Murray and Commonwealth Games Gold Medallist and now Southern Area middleweight king Darren Barker.
“There’s a great buzz within the team at the moment,” said Meager. “I see it in the gym every day. Everyone is up because of the success we’ve been having.
“The squad we have is outstanding. I am getting the best sparring in the country. It’s good to train alongside hungry, winning fighters because it makes for a winning mentality.
“It’s like when Carl knocked out Tony Dodson on Friday night. Seeing that – seeing the credit he got – lifts you to do it as well. You think: I want a bit of that.”
Meager’s had a bit of that. He was a slow starter after turning professional in 2000 with limited amateur experience, but has come into his own over the last three years.
Standout wins over former British and Commonwealth champion Charlie Shepherd, Michael Muya and then English king Danny Hunt, (although he somehow didn’t get the nod), saw him hailed as the most improved fighter in the gym between 2003 and 2004.
He has since progressed even further. In May this year he won the British title by stopping the previously undefeated Dave Stewart in the sixth round of what has been nominated as one of the contests of the year.
Although most new title holders get a voluntary for their first defence, Meager is looking to build on his achievements by going straight in against his mandatory contender Jon Thaxton.
The Norwich fighter comes with a big name. He is proven at Championship level and has taken Ricky Hatton the distance a weight division up. The straight talking Meager, however, is not one to be unsettled by reputation.
“Whatever he has done in the past means nothing – it’s all about a week Friday now,” Meager added. “I’m a fighter on the way up. I’m the champion and I’m bang in form.
“I know a lot of people see this as a 50-50 fight. I know there are people who think I am the underdog, but that’s because they have been taken in by the talk around Thaxton.
“Even though I am a British champion, people still don’t realise what I am capable of. I’m planning to shock them next week. Things are going right for me at the moment. I’m in the shape of my life and I’m on a run with the rest of my team. Thaxton’s not going to end that.”
A ‘Heavyweight Showdown for the British Lightweight Title’ takes place at the Goresbrook Leisure Centre in Dagenham on Friday 8th December. Tickets priced £35 and £75 are available from Ticketmaster on 0870 060 1795. For more information please visit www.HennessySports.com.
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