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Blunden follows famous Lads' Club names after debut win in pro ranks

PUBLISHED: 11:49 18 December 2018 | UPDATED: 11:49 18 December 2018

Owen Blunden celebrates his victory over Dylan Draper Picture: Mark Hewlett

Owen Blunden celebrates his victory over Dylan Draper Picture: Mark Hewlett

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Owen Blunden realised a dream when he followed in the footsteps of Norfolk's fighting elite.

Owen Blunden on his way to victory Picture: Mark HewlettOwen Blunden on his way to victory Picture: Mark Hewlett

The 20-year-old from Norwich made his debut in the year-ending boxing show at the weekend, turning in an impressive performance in beating Dylan Draper from Braintree on points.

The transition from the amateur ranks can be a tough one: Blunden has been put through some strenuous paces in the past few weeks by trainers Graham Everett and Jon Thaxton, two men who have been influential in the careers of Blunden’s heroes, twins Liam and Ryan Walsh.

Both were members of Norwich Lads Club, as was Blunden – who was delighted to see Liam helping out in his corner on Sunday.

“That was just amazing,” said Blunden. “As a Norwich Lads Club fighter it was great to have a former Norwich Lads Club fighter there. I always looked up to the Walsh brothers and all their achievements in the amateur game and now the professional game, so having Liam in my corner for my first fight was amazing – it was a dream come true.”

Owen Blunden has Dylan Draper on the ropes Picture: Mark HewlettOwen Blunden has Dylan Draper on the ropes Picture: Mark Hewlett

Blunden had good support at the Holiday Inn Airport Hotel on Sunday – a venue he knows well from his amateur days, which perhaps helped settle any pre-fight nerves.

“I did have some nerves - every boxer has and if they say they don’t I think they are lying,” he said. “But they are controlled nerves and I use that to my advantage. I just felt good and I felt ready, probably over-ready.

“I have good support and that lifts me up every time I fight. The support is massive and that boosts me when I am in the ring. I have fought maybe four times here as an amateur so it was like being at home for me in a sense and that settles me down as well.

“When I was coming here I felt nervous but when I put the gloves on and worked the pads with Jon the nerves were being punched out ahead of the fight itself. My confidence within the first round popping the jab out, keeping behind it like Graham and Jon said and round after round my confidence kept growing and at the end I felt really good.

Owen Blunden on his way to victory Picture: Mark HewlettOwen Blunden on his way to victory Picture: Mark Hewlett

“Graham and Jon just said to box clever behind the jab, keep him at range and don’t get drawn into a fight and that is what I kept in my head.”

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