Sexton had won the title from Rogan in controversial circumstances last time out, when the referee stopped the fight, when Rogan’s eyes had closed through the constant jab of Sexton.
Norwich man Sexton entered the partisan home crowd at the Odyssey Arena Belfast to a volley of boos. Sexton looked cool. composed and confident from the moment he entered the arena and looked like he was not only in the zone, but had an exact plan of how he was going to approach this fight.
Rogan in typical gutsy style took the fight to Sexton from the first bell looking to ruff Sexton up and stamp his authority on the fight, but Sexton began to find his punching range early and in between tieing a rampant Rogan up landed with some good punches to stop Rogan in his tracks, not to mention a good four punch combination to end the opening session and a good round and positive start to the fight from the 25 year old champion.
Rogan again started the second round trying to bully Sexton and throw him off his pace, but Sexton was keeping his composure and was conserving vital energy.
Sexton took the second and third rounds and was beginning to create an early lead.
Rogan came on stronger in the fourth and the sheer strength and will of the likable Belfast Taxi driver drove him forward and ended the round by hurting Sexton with a chopping right hand to the temple of Sexton who’s legs dipped a little from the impact.
The fifth round seemed to be a turning point in the contest, Rogan got cut above his right eyes although it wasn’t bad enough to worry about, Rogan didn’t have the success he had the previous round, and Sexton began to land some clever hurtful punches, whilst regaining his senses and composure and shake off the effects of the punches he took in the previous round.
Rogan almost looked to go for broke in sixth round, but began to look tired all of a sudden and Sexton’s boxing came through as he landed some punishing punches to the challenger head and body that had Rogan notably hurt.
Rogan as dogged as ever was breathing hard and didn’t look like he had anything left, as he at times almost turned away from Sexton, as he came looking to land the finishing shots, after making it to the bell. Rogans corner looked concerned as there dejected looking fighter walk back, and after a chat with the referee decided to call an end to the fight at the end of the seventh round, and later cited a neck injury for him being unable to continue.
Sam Sexton came of age tonight in this fight and was very impressive in how he controlled the fight and how confident he looked, at 25 Sexton is still a young heavyweight and looks to have improved much even from the last fight with Rogan. and he says there is plenty more to come.
“I’m still the champion, there’s plenty more to come, plenty of better stuff to come as well,” Sexton told Sky Sports after the fight.
“I always feel relaxed, it’s the best way to fight, it prevents you from making mistakes. Martin Rogan’s a big puncher and I had to keep my guard up.
“It’s onwards and upwards for me. David Haye and Valuev are fighting tomorrow night and what a dream fight it would be for me to fight one of them.”
Rogan explained that he had the injury in the lead-up to the fight, but was determined to go ahead with the contest after such a big build-up.
“Sam keeps illustrating he’s 25, and I felt like I was 55 in there at the end,” said Rogan.
“I had a neck injury from the last fight, and I think it just happened again, with some pushing down on my head it must have trapped a nerve or something and my left arm just went numb there.”
There will always be a place in boxing for Martin Rogan, a true gentlemen, and a hero in Belfast, packing the place out, fans want to see Rogan fight, he always comes to fight and puts on a show, but tonight Sexton just looked that little bit fresher and sharper in all departments.
Sam Sexton will now wait for his shot at the British title as this was an eliminator for the domestic title currently held by Danny Williams.
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