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Henry Wharton’s gymnasium has potential to be “best in Yorkshire”
BOXER turned trainer Ron “Rocket” Hopley is convinced Henry Wharton’s gymnasium will soar to major prominence.
Ripon-based Hopley, who was a professional fighter in the same stable as the York star at the height of his world title-challenging heyday in the 1990s, is to be the assistant to Wharton at “Henry’s Gym” in Acomb.
Currently the final cosmetic touches are being made to the project in which Wharton has worked for close on 11 months to transform the 10,000 sq feet of the first floor of the old Regent Cinema in York Road into a purpose-built gym.
Several private training programmes have been held at the gymnasium, including gruelling sessions which Hopley has initiated to get Leeds Rhinos coach Brian McDermott fully prepared for a boxing contest in a charity night in London next week.
Over the next two weeks Wharton added that open sessions would be run to coincide with registration for potential members of the boxing centre.
As Hopley, who has trained for several years in his native Ripon, surveyed the new arena, he said: “It’s got great potential.
“I believe it’s going to be a big hit for York and I also think that not only is it going to be the best in York, but this gym could be the best right across the whole of Yorkshire.”
Hopley declared how Wharton’s ring-craft amassed over decades as a youngster coming through the ranks and then on to the peak of the 12-stone super-middleweight division for almost ten years, and following his retirement his experience as a trainer, will be of unparalleled benefit to the new York gymnasium.
Said Hopley: “There’s nobody in York and further away who has got the knowledge that Henry has got. He’s second to none in what he knows about boxing.
“I am convinced that we will get the next generation of York champions from here.”
A lifelong friend of Wharton since they first started in the fight game, Hopley said a lot of his own training ideas and methods had been sharpened by the input of York’s most successful professional boxer.
“When we were boxing professionally we were in quite a big stable of boxers, but you could always see that Henry was special,” said the Ripon-based trainer.
“He always wanted to know things. He always wanted to improve and look at how that went – he went on to fight at the pinnacle of world boxing.
“Now he brings all the experience from those years of competing at the highest level.
“I have seen him training through the years at Ripon and the way he transmits that knowledge is so good. Het gets his message across brilliantly and I am certain that will bring success to the gym.
“This could be just what the city of York needs.”
Once the York Road gym is in full swing, its programme will not be confined solely to boxing.
There is to be room for community-based zumba classes as well as a refreshment area.