Lady Luck steps in for Norwich fighter Goddard
- Credit: Mark Hewlett
Norwich boxer Liam Goddard's hopes of a maiden title shot have been rescued after late drama ahead of boxing's return to the city next week.
Goddard had been preparing to face Curtis Felix Jnr at The Halls in Norwich a week on Friday, only for his opponent to pull out after contracting Covid.
But just as the worst possible news for a small hall show was sinking in, up stepped Lady Luck - with a new opponent for the vacant Southern Area welterweight title fight.
Goddard will now face Faheem Khan, who was due to fight an eliminator for the very same title - only for his opponent to suffer the same fate and be forced out by a positive Covid test.
It means the show goes on - much to the relief of Goddard, trainer Graham Everett and promoter Mervyn Turner.
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"It was a lot of hard work and then a stroke of luck which played a huge part in saving the show," said Turner. "These boxers have been out of action for 18 months and for Liam it is his first title contest so he has been training with that goal in mind."
Exeter fighter Khan has won 14 and lost 11, but significantly, has five wins in his last six outings. Goddard has won all seven of his pro fights.
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The change of opponent has meant a changer in approach: Khan is a southpaw, while Felix is orthodox - although Goddard had had plenty of sparring with southpaw Ryan Walsh in the Norwich gym.
“We have been training hard for Curtis Felix Jnr so all of our preparation work has been around that," said Everett. "Khan has been in training for a 10-round fight on the 18th so he will be prepared and certainly up for this opportunity which was presented to him."
Goddard says he is grateful to still have a fight.
"Training camp has gone great for me and I am expecting a big crowd on the night as I am blessed with fantastic support," he said. "It's a new opponent but the same target and will be the same outcome."
The show also features the unbeaten Owen Blunden, national amateur standout Emma Dolan, making her pro debut, Mikkie Webber Kane, from Gorleston and Ipswich debutant Frankie Davey.