In the shadow of giants, Sexton wins

dddPoor old Sam Sexton, not enough that he derailed the Cinderella Man story of Belfast hard man Martin Rogan once, controversially of course, but last weekend he returned to the white hot atmosphere of the Odyssey Arena to thoroughly dismantle the Rogan again. And within 24 hours his considerable achievement was completely outshone by some David v Goliath showdown.

The rematch started much like a mirror of the first, Rogan was slightly more cautious in his approach perhaps but Sexton was remarkably calm considering his relatively shallow professional experience. He moved well, conserved energy, thudded home jabs.

Rogan’s best session was the fifth, when he looked close to replicating his big finish to their initial encounter. The Irishman wrestled his man to the ropes and reigned in punches on any part of Sexton he could find. This time however, the hulking figure of Sexton weathered the storm.

Nobody could have predicted the turn around in fortunes that would materialise in the sixth. Rogan’s dominance cost him too much of his reserves and he left himself virtually unable to defend himself throughout the sixth round. He shrank in front of his loyal crowd and Sexton appeared to grow in stature. Rogan frequently looked to his corner, his new corner following the split from Eamonn Magee and John Breen.

Whether the change in trainers contributed to Rogan lack of stamina, but there was no tangible evidence of the arm injury announced as the reason he failed to emerge for the seventh round. The two fighters now presumably move on divergent paths, Rogan’s future looks hard to reconfigure at the age of 37. Sexton, aged 25, and with just a fatigue-caused defeat to Derek Chisora to spoil his otherwise pristine record he is upwardly mobile now.

As British champion Danny Williams creaks toward retirement, Sexton looks most likely provide the stubborn and ambitious resistance to whoever emerges from the pack of Chisora, Fury and Price as the strongest new force in British boxing.

Sexton told the Norwich Evening News of his European and perhaps World title aspiration and nobody is laughing at the suggestion.

I’ve defended it for the first time, and in style,” he said. “But I want bigger things now, the Commonwealth title is soon going to be small fish, I want European titles and world titles.

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