TWO of York’s most uppercut-and-coming boxing prospects have switched to Henry Wharton’s new gym, declaring it a knockout.
Both Joe Hinds and Ben Cairns hail from Acomb, where the 10,000 sq ft gym – now named Henry’s Gym – is housed on the top floor of the former regent cinema in York Road.
For the big-hitting duo it’s a mere five minutes from home. But more importantly they made the switch from other gyms because of the kudos of being trained by Wharton, whose professional career touched the boxing robe of world champion greatness.
Each have also been wowed by the atmosphere being created in the gym.
Said the 22-year-old Hinds: “He’s the man who’s done it at the highest levels. He’s been in there, done it all, fought for world championships.
“Since I’ve been here a month or so I’ve noticed a massive improvement in myself.
“It’s about little tweaks here and there but already I’ve noticed it’s cutting out some imperfections.”
Hinds first took to boxing as a 16-year-old and was nurtured at York Amateur Boxing Club. But he revealed how a year ago he felt he was standing still, so went to America for some training.
“That showed me a range of different things and with Henry’s gym opening I thought I’d give it a go and I’ve seen even more progress.”
A joiner by trade, Hinds said he was also impressed by the ethos and working environment of the gym.
“Besides there being space for everything and everyone, there’s also a real good, competitive vibe. You see other boxers around you and you want to go one better than them.
“It all adds to giving you an edge.”
After discussions with former undefeated European, British and Commonwealth champion Wharton, he was anticipating strengthening his amateur record for another two years before then deciding whether to turn professional.
“I know one thing,” said Hinds. “I want to be the first champion out of this gym. I want to be the first name on the wall of honour.”
It’s a similar route being envisaged by Cairns, who, at 26, is four years older than sometime sparring partner Hinds.
But though older starting out in the ring, he still believes the advances he is making under the tutelage of Wharton and his team of trainers will guide him over the next two years in the amateur ranks before moving up to the pro circuit.
If Cairns is on the same trail, he has arrived at the Wharton gym from a contrasting route.
His most recent combat has been in kick-boxing and mixed martial arts with the legions Club in Fifth Avenue run by Al Chambers and Dave Phillips.
“The thing for me is that I always preferred boxing, so with Henry’s gym opening it was ideal for me to come here,” said Cairns.
“Henry’s helped me so much. It’s special being here and he’s a really great coach and there’s a great atmosphere among all the lads in the gym.”