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Henry Wharton's boxing gymnasium almost finished
HENRY WHARTON’S dream has inched closer to being realised as the final flourishes are put to York’s biggest boxing gymnasium.
The city’s most successful ring warrior – he reigned supreme as unbeaten British, Commonwealth and European super-middleweight champion – has battled for nigh on 11 months to get his new gym spic and span.
His aim is to provide not just a “haven” for boxers of all ages and talents, but a “home of champions”.
Said Wharton, whose only defeats in a glittering ten-year career were in three challenges for the world title, said: “I want this to become a home for boxers.
“When I was going through to St Patrick’s Amateur Boxing Club in Leeds to train, I spent as much time there, if not more, as I did at home.
“It was my home from home and I want this gym to be the same for the next generation.
“But I also want it to be a home of champions.”
To help to achieve that goal of nurturing a new crop of ring stars from York, Wharton said he will also have a pack of established boxers operating out of the gym, revealing how he had been inundated with telephone calls from experienced boxers wishing to come and train at the Acomb-based premises.
“It’s not about putting pressure on the kids, it’s more about them being able to see with their own eyes just what established boxers do well,” said Wharton.
“It’s great for youngsters to be able to see established fighters and to aspire to being like them.
“I know when I was young and learning my trade I always wanted to watch, and watch, and watch how experienced boxers operated. That’s a big key to learning.”
With two rings now in place at the York Road gym, plus a welter of punch bags and punch balls, there are just finishing touches to be applied before a grand opening.
But first Wharton is to hold a series of open sessions for would-be recruits to come along and see what’s in store, as well as to register for the new club.
Said Wharton: “Over the next week or so we should be ready to announce a few open sessions and trial runs and also get people registered. That’s the next step.
“It’s taken a while to get here, but I have to thank my wife Amanda for all the hard work she has put into this place and her total support for me. She’s been phenomenal.
“And now, to see the gym as it is, almost finished, well, I just can’t stop smiling.”
BUSINESSMAN Dean Sherriff urged would-be backers to recognise the biggest draw for York’s newest sporting attraction – Henry Wharton.
Sherriff, who has put some of his money into backing the Acomb-sited gym, as well as attracting significant sponsorship from companies across West and South Yorkshire, explained how the scale of the premises still provides a welter of opportunity for potential businesses.
“Just how big the gym is shows how much scope there is for advertising, which could prove even more valuable when boxing shows are established here,” said Sherriff, who is managing director of the Rotherham-based Empire company.
“But apart from the building itself, the biggest attraction is that you have got Henry Wharton here.
“It’s as if someone like Nick Faldo were to come to a golf club and set up training there. Where would any golfer want to go? To Nick Faldo, of course.”
Sherriff said he can be contacted by potential backers on firstname.lastname@example.org