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Boxer Brian McDermott prepares for return
FORMER Marine and one-time professional boxer Brian McDermott is honing himself to return to the boxing ring next week.
McDermott, the esteemed coach of the all-conquering Leeds Rhinos rugby league team, is one of several league and rugby union players opting to swap punches in a “Rugger in the Ring” charity show in London.
In preparation for his three-round showdown against Lee Radford, the current assistant coach at Super League rivals Hull, the Rhinos chief has been training at the fledgling new gym run by Henry Wharton in Acomb.
Said McDermott: “Obviously I boxed in the services where it is a big thing and I also had one professional fight, but I’ve not boxed competitively until a charity bout two years ago against Paul Sculthorpe (a former rugby league Man Of Steel).”
For his return through the ropes in 2010 McDermott sought out a club near his Ripon home and landed upon the coaching nous of another former boxing pro Ron Hopley, a lifelong friend of Wharton, who will be the York star’s assistant coach at the York Road gym.
McDermott and Hopley have since been in harness at the Acomb premises, a preparation regime beefed up by several sessions with former super-middleweight ace Wharton.
Said McDermott: “While it is for charity, I want to win. There is a thing about professional pride.”