Fight blow for Sam Sexton
Paddy DavittHighly-rated Norwich fighter Sam Sexton has been forced to scrap his British heavyweight title showdown against Danny Williams next month after suffering a freak hand injury.Paddy Davitt
Highly-rated Norwich fighter Sam Sexton has been forced to scrap his British heavyweight title showdown against Danny Williams next month after suffering a freak hand injury.
Trainer Graham Everett confirmed yesterday the 25-year-old had sliced his left thumb in an accident at home ahead of Sexton's bid to challenge Brixton brawler Williams at Wembley Arena on February 13.
Norfolk's Commonwealth champion still plans to be ringside for Frank Warren's 'Night of Champions' showpiece as Williams tackles stand-in Derek Chisora - the only man to beat Sexton in a blossoming 14 fight professional career.
'At first Sam was very, very disappointed but you just have to come to terms with it,' said Everett. 'Unfortunately Sam sliced into his thumb at home over the weekend. I guess you could call it a freak accident. He wouldn't be able to do anything for the next two weeks and if that is the length of time before he can even think about putting on a glove then its job done really.
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'He can't spar and if you lose a fortnight's training less than a month before the bout then you've got no chance. With it being on his jabbing hand obviously every time you make a fist it will open up the cut. It's not a long-term thing, though, we're looking at 10 days to two weeks. As you can imagine we're all bitterly disappointed - not just Sam, myself, Neil (Featherby) and all the team. It is tough because we'd worked all the way through Christmas with this date in mind but I'm a great believer things happen for a reason.'
Sexton must now settle for a watching brief at Wembley with Cromer's talented Walsh brothers plus Olympians James DeGale and Frankie Gavin all featuring on a quality undercard to the Williams' bout.
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'Sam had already sold around 400 tickets and he's probably more disappointed for those people because he feels that he has let them down a little bit,' said Everett. 'This is only a minor set back as Sam's career is on the up and up. Maybe it wasn't meant to be this time but he'll get his head down and come again.
'We'd like to think the agreement would be that Sam could fight the winner and take it from there. I guess you could say Sam will be an interested spectator on the night because I'm sure he'd still want to go down. We've got the Walsh boys on the card and he will want to show his support. That's probably when it might hit home the hardest but, as I say, it's not the worst thing in the world.'
Chisora aims to grab his unexpected shot at Williams' British belt after he was originally scheduled to fight Matt Skelton for the Southern Arena title.
'I wasn't expecting to get this chance, but I'll take it with both hands,' he said. 'Williams is a dangerous fighter but I'll face anyone Frank Warren puts in front of me. This is a massive opportunity to really make a statement and become the top man in Britain.'
Warren's third Olympic hopeful Billy Joe Saunders has also withdrawn from the Wembley bill with a hand injury while Kell Brook's WBO world title eliminator against Poland's Krzysztof Bienias has been switched to Liverpool's Echo Arena on March 12.
Welsh star Nathan Cleverly will now challenge for the European light-heavyweight title against Antonio Brancalion in a further change to the original Wembley card after the Italian's promotional team were unable to stage the fight.
Tickets priced at �40, �50, �75, �100 and �150, are available from See Tickets (0871 2200260, www.seetickets.com) and Wembley Arena (0844 815 0815, www.wembleyarena.co.uk).