Henry Wharton's plan to help York re-establish boxing reputation
Updated 11:56am Thursday 12th June 2014 in Sport
RING-MASTER Henry Wharton has the scene of former conquests roundly in his sights.
The most illustrious and successful professional boxer in York history is still bathing in the success of the first full show staged at Henry's Gym, the club he has established from scratch over the past 18 months.
But with that debut acknowledged by the former super-middleweight titan now turned trainer as a dream fulfilled, Wharton has another lord of the rings ambition.
The man, whose only defeats in a near two-decade pro career were at three assaults on world titles against Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Robin Reid, wants to help the city of York re-establish a proud reputation as a stronghold of English boxing.
As he plots the growing development of his own gym in Acomb - he and his training team have already forged a 20-strong band of boxers - Wharton has a wider horizon in his sights at a venue he graced several times in his home city.
Said the former undefeated European, Commonwealth and British champions in the 12-stone division: "I would love to stage a show at the Barbican.
"What I would like is to have all the various boxing clubs in the city to come together as one York team and represent the city against boxers from around the country.
"The Barbican would be an ideal venue - I know that from first-hand experience with me fighting there as a pro several times."
One of Wharton's Barbican highlights was the glorious capture of the vacant European super-middleweight crown against Italy's Mauro Galvano in the summer of 1995.
Indeed, Wharton's last fight as a professional was at the Barbican in front of a crowd of close on 1,500 fans three years later when he stopped Ukrainian hard-man Konstantin Okhrey soon after he moved up a division to the light-heavyweight category.
"I have a lot of great memories of the Barbican, where I always drew a big following, so I know that there is a lot of interest in the sport in York."
Wharton's ambition recalls the strength of boxing in the city between the two World Wars. Back then there was a regular challenge issued to more traditional powerhouses of boxing like Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester to take on the best of the Minster city.
Added Wharton: "I'd not heard about that before, but it would be wonderful if all the clubs could come together for such a bill.
"It wouldn't be about any one particular club or gym. It would just be about promoting the sport and showing how strong it was in York. It would be a great achievement for the city."
While he believed such an inter-city initiative was a way off, Wharton was already in the process of staging a second show at his York Street gym when the boxing season resumes in around three months.
"It was a great night for our first show and I'd just like to thank all the people and sponsors like Empire Tapes who backed us," said Wharton, whose dreams of more gloved glory burn bright.
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