Thaxton faces biggest challenge yet - teenagers

He has squared up to Ricky Hatton in the ring, but now former boxer Jon Thaxton has faced his most formidable opponents yet - a class of teenage girls.

The former British and European Lightweight Champion went back to his old school, Sprowston Community High, to take a 'ladies fighting fit' class, aimed at showing youngsters who are not keen on traditional sports how they can still enjoy keeping fit.

And the 36-year-old admitted he was more nervous about taking the class than he has ever been as the prospect of taking punches.

The father-of-two said: 'This is a lot harder. I never used to get nervous before a fight, but I was nervous coming in here because you never know what you are going to get.

'It's challenging and can be tough.

'But this a different way of getting these students motivated and a different way of getting fit.

'I would like to take my style of boxing into schools throughout Norfolk. It's non-contact boxing, using pads, which gets people working as teams and in pairs.

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'I'm the first to admit that I wasn't always the best at boxing and I achieved what I did through hard work, perserverance and never giving up.

'When I do these classes, I like to challenge people and motivate them.'

Thaxton has also been working with primary schools, doing 'wake and shake' classes to get children energised in the mornings, and he will also soon by working with Costessey's Victory Academy.

Emily Alcock, 16, from Old Catton, said: 'It's really fun and good for girls who don't really enjoy PE or doing sport. You can do it to you own ability and no one can see if you are not as good as everyone else.'

Teacher Cyril Nicklin, who used to teach Thaxton, said: 'You don't have to be good games players to enjoy this and it's about trying to give other opportunities to students to keep fit and to learn about what they can do to stay fit when they leave school.'

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