Jon Thaxton believes that Graham Earl’s decision to withdraw from their scheduled clash for his British Lightweight Title is ‘bad for boxing’. The long established Championship operators looked finally set to meet after Hennessy Sports submitted a successful purse bid for the right to stage the contest last week, beating off competition from Earl’s promoter Sports Network..
Hennessy Sports scheduled the clash for August 3rd at the Norfolk Showground, but unfortunately former title-holder Earl has since withdrawn stating that he did not wish to challenge Thaxton under the terms of the bid.
“It’s a massive letdown,” said Thaxton yesterday. “This was a big fight that everyone was looking forward to. It’s not going to happen now and I think that‘s bad for boxing.
“My promoter Mick Hennessy has gone out there and tried to stage a genuinely big fight and it seems Earl doesn’t want to play ball. The reason he has given doesn’t make any sense to me.
“From what I have heard, he pushed to be my mandatory and it’s not like he is injured. His decision could delay me now and I think it has let boxing fans down.
“He only got his chance to win the title when he beat Bobby Vanzie, (in 2003), because I was forced to retire for two years after a car accident. Well I’m back now and I am the champion, so why not fight me?
“We are the top two in Britain. He is walking around telling everybody he is the best lightweight in the country, so why not prove it. Why? I can only think because he knows the result if we did. People would have called this as a 50/50, but I have always thought his style is made for me.”
Thaxton added: “When I first heard the news I wondered if he’d caught yellow fever or chicken flu. First Willie Limmond pulled out on me and now Earl. I believe withdrawals like this could ruin the sport. Limmond is now fighting Khan. Perhaps Earl is looking for the easy option as well and is going to fight the winner?
“I don’t see that there any problems with terms of the bid. I believe it would have been about three times the amount he got for defending against Kevin Bennett and his promoter bid less. I’m wondering if Michael Katsidis hit him so hard that he thinks he won.
“If he is that worried about money we can fight winner takes all instead. That shouldn’t be a problem seeing as he thinks he is the best in the country, but I don’t think even that will persuade him. Maybe he needs to go and see the Wizard of Oz and get some courage.”
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