Third time lucky for Norwich title hopeful
- Credit: Mark Hewlett
Liam Goddard will be looking join the Norwich boxing hall of fame on Friday night when he goes through the ropes for his first title fight.
It’s been a traumatic build-up for the 24-year-old and his team, following two withdrawals - original opponent Curtis Felix Jnr pulled out because of Covid and earlier this week his replacement, Faheem Khan, also withdrew, on medical grounds.
Now Goddard – who has won all seven of his outings - will face Justin Menzie for the vacant Southern Area welterweight title.
The Halls in Norwich will be packed for the first city fight night since February last year and trainer Graham Everett is backing Goddard to join the likes of Sam Sexton, Craig Poxton and Billy Bird to have come through the ranks in Norwich and gone on to win an area crown.
The change of opponents – from an orthodox to a southpaw and, finally, another southpaw – are just bumps in the road, says Everett.
“We’ve been getting ready for a classy, smooth-boxing orthodox fighter – then we were fighting a big, strong southpaw,” said Everett. “Now we have a tough little fighter, a short powerful fighter in Justin Menzie. But it is what it is.
“The thing is, Liam has sparred a lot of rounds with Ryan Walsh at southpaw, and rounds with Ryan will put him in good stead for this.
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“The Halls will be packed to the rafters and ready to roar Liam home in a very tough fight.
“Liam is a good energy fighter, he’s a tough kid, he is fast and he can hit and I do like him, I like him a lot, but he is one of those – he needs to have something to get his teeth into and I think this is exactly what he wants.”
Everett and promoter Mervyn Turner have been put through the ringer in the past week or so, but the Norwich trainer admits that after so long the excitement has been mounting.
“It’s the first show for ages and to be fair, it was difficult in the build-up anyway,” said Everett. “When you are in boxing week in, week out, you are in the role, in your business. But a lot of people around the country have walked away from boxing, they have found other things to do. But the last couple of weeks it has got really exciting again, starting to piece the show together, tickets getting out there, everybody’s talking about it.”
Owen Blunden: The 22-year-old has won all five of his fights. Everett’s verdict: “Owen works hard, day in, day out - and no grumbles. But I will be honest, next year we will be looking to push him on into a position where Liam is.”
Frankie Davey: The 21-year-old from Ipswich is making his professional debut. Everett’s verdict: “I cannot fault him. He works hard, he’s really honest and to be fair he deserves success because he puts everything into it and this is just the start – he has something about him.”
Emma Dolan: The 23-year-old from Dereham is making her professional debut. Everett’s verdict: “Great girl who gets on with her work, got a good amateur grounding which is something I am really happy with. I’m really looking forward to getting Emma on the move. Tough girl. She works with us and she does everything that is asked of her.”
Mikie Webber-Kane: From Great Yarmouth and making his pro debut. Everett’s verdict: “I manage Mikie and he is trained by Tony Norman. He is a great acquisition to the team, he has got a great fanbase in Yarmouth and I’m really looking forward to helping him in his career.”