Jon Thaxton used to throw plenty of bombs and now he is ready to launch The Grenade – new Beccles professional fighter Joe Payne.

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Thaxton won British, European and WBU world honours before hanging up his gloves.

And the Norwich hero is back in the gym, this time working with Payne in the countdown to his professional boxing debut.

Payne will box at the Peterborough Arena on Saturday, September 29 and the 26-year-old welterweight from Beccles could be the star of the show.

The nickname Grenade is self-explanatory – for his explosive, all-action style – and Payne believes Thaxton is smoothing his rough edges in the gym.

“We clicked straight away,” said Payne. “I like to have a row and everyone knows me as The Grenade. When I go out my mates always say, ‘How you doing Grenade?’ I’m still very aggressive – but I have a better defence now.”

Payne should be a colourful addition to the professional ranks. His fans will wear ‘Grenade’ T-shirts and war paint when he boxes. And the Beccles fighter knows what he is fighting for. A father of two boys – five-year-old Callum and three-year-old Joshua, and step-father to three-year-old Tilly – said: “They want to go to Disneyland and I’m fighting so I can take them there.

“Whenever it gets tough in the gym I think of my three and that keeps me going.”

As an amateur, Payne had about 40 bouts and reached the quarter-finals of the ABA Championships.

His club-mates at Chatteris ABC included Jordan Gill and the fast fisted Fenman also boxes on this month’s show in Peterborough that is topped by fans’ favourite Cello Renda.

Payne added: “I always wanted to turn professional, but thought my chance had gone.

“Being in the gym with Jon has made it all possible. I know turning professional is a big step, but I’ve got a great team behind me and I’m feeling confident.”

Tickets for the show are available from 07706 313960.

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