HENRY WHARTON’S stable of professional fighters continues to grow after John Patrick Harker decided to turn over.

Harker will be trained by former world title challenger Wharton out of Henry’s Gym in Acomb and his career will be guided by Harrogate-based manager Kevin Maree.

The 23-year-old said that the coronavirus pandemic, which has stopped any amateur boxing taking place, made up his mind about making the move to the paid ranks.

“Coronavirus really, that’s what’s made me turn over,” the super-bantamweight explained of his decision.

“The amateur stuff has completely stopped, so I don’t think I would have been able to box for a while.

“Now I haven’t boxed in 12 months and I personally thought that it would be another 12 months before amateurs were back on the go.

“I thought that instead of wasting any more time, I thought that it would be good to make the switch now and get learning.

“I’ve seen a lot of people already that have turned pro purely for the same reason.”

Born in Harrogate, Harker began boxing at Harrogate ABC before making the switch to Henry’s Gym a year later.

The move brought on his boxing massively and turned it him from a brawler into a well-rounded boxer.

“When I got to Henry’s, I realised how far behind I was,” recalled Harker, who joined Wharton’s set-up aged 17. “Over time, he has corrected my mistakes and helped me learn a lot really fast.

“My boxing skills weren’t all that great to be honest - I was just a brawler.

“When I went to Henry’s, he started teaching me how to box (properly), so my boxing got a lot better, my boxing brain got a lot better and the fights got easier funnily enough!

“Henry is one of the best trainers in Yorkshire, if not the best, because there’s not a lot of people that have been where he has been in the sport.

“He’s only had the gym eight years and look at what he’s done already - that shows for itself that he’s an exceptional trainer.

“Henry’s been there before so he can talk you through it and give you guidance.

“If not just Henry as well, there’s other coaches in the gym and they all help out and play their part.”

Harker won three Yorkshire titles as an amateur, but is quick to downplay his achievements in the unpaid code.

“I never had the best of amateur careers - it was never really my style,” he added.

“I was always a slow-paced fighter, which is why I like the sound of the pros.

“The longer rounds will suit me and allow me to take my time and put shots together rather than everything being a rush.”