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Determined Jon Thaxton rolls back years: Boxing - Telegraph

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    Determined Jon Thaxton rolls back years

    Jon Thaxton revived his lightweight career aspirations with a devastating third-round knockout of Spaniard Juan Carlos Diaz Melero, administering a perfect punch at the Norfolk Showground on Saturday night.

    By Gareth A Davies

    1:12AM BST 06 Oct 2008

    In claiming the vacant European crown with such an emphatic statement, he has re-ignited the prospect, once distant, of a tilt at a world title.

    Norfolk's nearly man has finally come of age at 34. Racked with doubt in a long career in which he has lost challenges at British, Commonwealth and European level, Thaxton has finally laid claim to the British and European belts in the last two years. The lightweight division, with Amir Khan now engaging on a career rebuild after his shock defeat, has suddenly opened up for the heavy-handed switch-hitter.

    Thaxton has a growing sense of belief that a world title could be reached. He said: "I know I don't have the skills of some of the slickest world champions, but no one has more heart, determination and will to succeed."

    He certainly delivered with his knockout punch in the third round, an arcing right hook flush to Melero's chin which sent the Spaniard crashing awkwardly to the canvas.

    There was immediate concern from the doctors at ringside, who administered oxygen as the beleaguered fighter was helped on to his stool.

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    Before Thaxton sent the spectators wild in the giant tin shack normally used to sell the county's livestock and produce, another adopted son of Norfolk bounced into the ring.

    Herbie Hide, the former two-time World Boxing Organisation heavyweight champion and sometime bad boy, now in his second coming as a cruiserweight, showed, even at 37, why he remains a dangerous force, and a capable world title challenger.

    Hide used his opponent, Aleksejs Kosobokovs, of Latvia, like a punchbag for nine minutes, until the fight was mercifully stopped.

    Hide has lost nothing of the ebullience that saw him go to the top of the heavyweight division as a 23-year-old.

    He moved down to cruiserweight two years ago, having has based himself in Germany, and now has nine straight wins in the division.

    Ranked fifth by the World Boxing Council, Hide could get a world-title shot early next year. The Czech, Rudolf Kraj, and Italy's Giacobbe Fragomeni fight for the vacant WBC cruiserweight title in Milan on Oct 24.

    Hide, who weighed in 21lbs over the cruiserweight limit for Saturday's contest, said: "I had to go away to Germany and get my act and my life together.

    "It's been good for me, but I'm back and I'll be looking for a world title shot as soon as possible. Cruiser is the best division for me, the right division."

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