Jon Thaxton bids to be fitness guru

Stephen PullingerDuring his 17-year boxing career Jon Thaxton's supreme fitness level took him to British, European and world titles as well as a titanic clash against fighting legend Ricky Hatton.Stephen Pullinger

During his 17-year boxing career Jon Thaxton's supreme fitness level took him to British, European and world titles as well as a titanic clash against fighting legend Ricky Hatton.

Now, two months after his retirement, the former lightweight has unveiled his ambition to become a Jamie Oliver-style health guru getting the region's youngsters into shape and motivating them to take up sport.

Thaxton, 35, of Maple Drive, Taverham, near Norwich, will be trialling Champion Fit Kids, his four-week fitness camp, at Costessey Junior School in the New Year.

Hailing the camp as a 'brilliant idea', the school's deputy head, Sheila Greenacre, said: 'We have worked with Jon before. He is incredibly enthusiastic and generates a lot of enthusiasm, and we are keen to promote healthy living at the school.'

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Year five and six youngsters at the new after-school club will be put through their paces in a variety of circuit training exercises and also given tips on healthy eating.

Thaxton, who has two young daughters, Ella, eight, and Kacey, three, has been partly motivated by his concern at reports that Britain is facing a shocking youth obesity problem.

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He said: 'When I was at school I was doing four martial arts as well as amateur boxing, and training every day of the week. That was probably too much, but nowadays the level of physical activity among young people has dropped to a worrying level.

'I will be introducing students to fitness in a fun way. My message to them will be that I was no good at boxing when I started - if I could do it through discipline and determination so can they, whether it is playing football, netball or whatever.'

Thaxton said he had been expecting about 20 pupils to sign up for the first camp at Costessey, but its instant popularity meant he would have a class of 34.

He said: 'I will give them a fitness test at the start and one at the end so they can measure the difference.

'If they listen to me and do what they are told, they will improve their fitness and gain an understanding of it.

'And they are sure to be motivated by the results - in the first week they might struggle to do a few press ups, but by week three they might be reeling off 20 easily.'

Aiming to take his camps to schools across the region, he said: 'I would like to change youngsters' lifestyles the way Jamie Oliver changed food in schools.'

Thaxton will also be tackling the fitness issues of adults in a four-week post-Christmas boot camp at the Esporta Norfolk Health and Racquets Club, in Drayton High Road, Hellesdon.

The camp will entail three sessions a week, from 6.30am to 7.30am, with participants tackling a variety of exercises, covering running, circuit training and elements of boxing training.

For details of the boot camp, costing �100 for club members and �120 for non-members, and Champion Fit Kids, contact Jon via his website

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