Promoter Mick Hennessy believes Jon Thaxton can crown his “Cinderella Man” career with an audacious world title bid. After almost 16 years as a pro, Thaxton upset the odds to win the European Lightweight title at the Norfolk Showground’s in his native Norwich last October and Hennessy believes he can go one step further.
Thaxton returns to the scene of his stunning one punch KO win over Juan Carlos Diaz Melero on February 28 when he makes the first defence of his title against French Champion, Anthony Mezaache.
While Thaxton is busy focusing on Mezaache, his promoter is already making long term plans. “Jon’s too much of a professional to take his eye off the ball but I’m hoping to manoeuvre Jon into a position to challenge for the world title," said Hennessy.
"Obviously, he can’t afford to slip up against Mezaache and Jon himself knows that it’s a potential banana skin. He’s been in Mezaache’s position himself before and he’s a guy with nothing to lose so that makes him very dangerous but Jon knows all about that.
“People wrote him off after he lost his first European title attempt but I had faith in Jon and he delivered in style when he got a second crack at it. Jon has been one of British boxing’s greatest servants and I think it would be terrific to see him get a chance at a world title.
"He’s a role model for any young pro coming into the sport. His dedication and professionalism is second to none and if I can deliver a world title shot for Jon I’ve no doubt he’ll make the most of it.”
Thaxton says that a world title shot would be the icing on the cake of an amazing career that has seen him battle back from setbacks inside and outside the ring including a car crash that left him sidelined for two years.
“When I look back through my career and what I’ve been through, coming back from the car crash to win the British and European titles then I think, why not go all the way when I’ve come this far," said Thaxton. "It really would be the modern day Cinderella Man story and a real fairytale but it’s one I certainly believe in.
“I love it when people say I’m finished because I get a lot of motivation out of proving the naysayers wrong. To be honest, I have to credit my wife with a lot of it. When I lost to Eamonn Magee seven years ago, a lot of people were telling me it was time to hang up the gloves.
"To be honest, there’s been times when I wondered myself if I’d ever get there. My wife isn’t a boxing fan at all, in fact she can’t stand it, but through all the bad times she’s encouraged me and pushed me to keep going because she knew it was still in me and that I still had the hunger to do it.
Thaxton doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration. The dominant force in the lightweight division is unified champ, Nate Campbell. The American defends his titles in Florida on Saturday night and like Thaxton, his career finally came good well into his thirties.
“I’d love a shot at Campbell and he’s certainly a good example of how it can be done even when your in your mid thirties," said Thaxton. "He’s two years older than me and like me, he’s had his ups and downs so if he can do it why can’t I? It’s a strong division but to fight him or any of the other champs at lightweight would be a dream come true.
“Hopefully, Mick can deliver that opportunity for me. I take everything as it comes but I train hard, I’m passionate about the sport and I’ll fight anyone. I’ve never ducked anybody in my life. In fact when people ask me who I’d like to fight I normally say either Amir Khan or Michael Katsididis. Neither of them hold any titles at the moment, but I know for a fact they would be really exciting for the fans.
“They’d be great fights, but I guarantee I’d win them because although I like to have a ruck and a punch up, I’m adaptable and I can box when I need to. I’m a good mover and have decent skills so I’ve a lot more in my armoury than people think.”
The 34-year-old southpaw is keen to stress though that until fight night the only man he’s focusing on is Anthony Mezaache. “I’m really up for this one; training has gone better than ever," he said.
"I’m ahead of where I would usually be at this stage in a training camp and I wish the fight was this weekend because it can’t come soon enough now. It’s at home in front of my own fans so I want to win this in style and make a real statement.”
Featuring on the exciting undercard: Danny McIntosh v Matthew Barney for the English Light Heavyweight title, subject to Board approval, also appearing will be new heavyweight sensation Tyson Fury, Matthew Thirlwall, Steve O’Meara, Daniel Herdman, Earl Ling and making his pro debut, ABA Senior Featherweight Champion Bradley Evans.
Tickets for Jon Thaxton’s European title defence at the Norfolk Showground, Norwich on the 28th February are available from the Ticketline box office on 0871 424 4444 or via www.ticketline.co.uk
Boxing News Tags: Anthony Mezaache, Bradley Evans, Danny McIntosh, Earl Ling, Hennessy, Herbie Hide, Jon Thaxton, Lee Purdy, Matthew Barney, Peter McDonagh, Sam Sexton, Tony Sims, Tyson Fury, Zahid Kahut