Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Leeds Rhinos chief Brian McDermott backs Henry Wharton’s gym initiative
YORK king of the ring Henry Wharton’s bold aim to create “a home of champions” is to land a champion clout.
Brian McDermott, the coach of Leeds Rhinos – winners last month of rugby league’s Grand Final at Old Trafford – has agreed to bring his 13-a-side titans to train at Wharton’s new gym in Acomb.
And the coach, who is currently training at the York Road gym for his own ring comeback, gave a huge endorsement both to the 10,000 sq ft premises, which are nearing completion, and to the man behind the enterprise, York’s former undefeated British, Commonwealth and European super-middleweight champion Wharton.
Said McDermott: “This is a great gym and when it is fully up and running it will rival most professional gyms in the country.
“But as much as it’s about the place, it’s also about the man who is in charge. As a bloke Henry does things the right way.”
The Rhinos leader, himself a former professional boxer whose ring career started in his time serving in the Royal Marines, added: “We have a commitment at the Rhinos that when you win, you win in the right way, and when you lose, you lose with integrity.
“I get the same feeling from Henry. I followed his career when he was boxing and he was one of those fighters who never did the 'trash talk'. He went about his boxing in the right manner.
“I am sure that boxers who come to this gym will pick up all that good stuff from him.”
The Rhinos coach confirmed that he will bring his 30-strong squad to the gym, which is housed on the first floor of the old Regent cinema in York Road for part of their pre-season training programme.
“At the Rhinos we get quite a few invitations to come to boxing gyms and I feel that there is a lot of synergy between rugby league and boxing. But with the size of the squad we have they can be a bit cramped,” said McDermott, who has just led the Rhinos to their fifth Grand Final success in the last six years.
“This gym is ideal though to accommodate our squad. There’s plenty of room, plenty of equipment and I will be bringing the squad through as part of our training.”