Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
Henry Wharton hopes to produce boxing stars for Olympic Games in Rio
LET’S produce more Team GB boxing stars for Rio – that’s the no-punches-pulled aim from York’s former lord of the ring Henry Wharton.
Buoyed by his return to work to creating York’s biggest boxing club, and inspired by the Team GB successes in the Olympic Games, Wharton is on the verge of completing a coup at his Acomb -based gym.
The one-time undefeated European, Commonwealth and British super-middleweight champion has been approached by no less than the Yorkshire Amateur Boxing Association about his new gym hosting top-class amateur contests.
Currently the last bout of work is now being undertaken to complete the extensive project of converting the top floor of the former Regent cinema in Acomb into a 10,000 square foot state of the art boxing club at which Wharton will be the main man overseeing training and competition.
Said Wharton: “The Yorkshire ABA have inquired about this gym being able to stage the first round of bouts for the Yorkshire regional finals in the national ABA championships.
“That will mean getting the cream of the county’s fighters to come and compete here in York.
“Now that would be a brilliant lift for boxing not just here at this club, but also for York, and especially with boxing in Britain doing so well at the Olympics.
“We would get the first glimpse of Yorkshire’s leading lads hoping to go on to national success.
“That shows just what this club could become. Somewhere for York, a city steeped in boxing, to be proud of.”
Work is proceeding at a good lick at the former cinema now that Wharton is on the road to recovery from injuries he suffered last month and which left him hospitalised for more than a week. “I have had so many good wishes about my health and also about this place, which is my dream and which is one of the reasons for getting me so fired up,” said the man, whose only defeats in a near ten-year professional career were in three challenges for the ultimate world championship belt.
Back at the heights of his pro days, Wharton operated in a glittering 12-stone division featuring Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank, Robin Reid, Steve Collins, Mauro Galvano, Nicky Piper and an up-and-coming Joe Calzaghe.
Wharton’s recovery from his recent setback has been aided by the startling performance of Team GB’s boxers, who revelled in their best and most medal-laden showing in the ring for a century.
“Not only did the first-class way Britain hosted the entire Games make me proud to be British, but the performance of the British boxers was star quality,” said Wharton.
“It was a great bunch of boxers we had, lads like Luke Campbell who did fantastically well to win gold. Right the way through we showed we were strong.
“It also showed that if we set our mind to it Britain can produce great amateur boxers and now we should be looking for the next Olympic stars for the 2016 games in Rio.
“We’ve all got to be looking towards Rio.”