LEGIONS Gym will celebrate its tenth anniversary this weekend.

The gym was founded by Thai boxing coaches Dave Phillips and Al Chambers in 2011, with the pair initially setting base at Manor School before moves to Tang Hall and then most recently Clifton Moor.

Given the rise in its participation, the gym have expanded from solely Thai boxing into mixed martial arts and boxing as Phillips and Chambers brought on board other coaches.

During their ten-year stretch, Legions have won multiple regional, national and continental titles across various disciplines.

“My and my partner Al got talking about starting a gym of our own and training some fighters, because we were friends with lots of fighters at the time,” recalled Phillips.

“We started at the old Manor School and then it just got busier and, after six months, we moved to Tang Hall and we were there for five years before we made the move to Clifton Moor.

“We’ve got a great sponsor, in SAY Scaffolding, and he built the building at Clifton Moor and we rent it from him. He said to us that we needed to find somewhere bigger.

“Originally, we were just a Thai boxing gym but when we moved to Clifton Moor we added the MMA, with Steve Coupland, and boxing, with Ash Martin.

“When we first started we just wanted an area for a few York fighters to all train together. We had no intention of expanding or anything like that. But more and more people started turning up and it just grew from there.”

On the biggest highlights of the past decade, Phillips added: “I’ve had quite a few guys ranked in the top 10 in the country in Thai boxing.

“We’ve had lots of highlights, like Paris (Smith) boxing for England and we’ve been over to Australia to compete too.

“To single one out, it would be when Ian Houillebecq and Danny Harrison Little fought in Birmingham. Ian won three fights in that one night to become Last Man Standing and Danny won the ISKA European title. That was a great night.”

Like all gyms, Legions are shut at present due to restrictions brought in through the third national lockdown.

Phillips says the gym have been supported by their loyal members during this period, but admits that a prolonged closure would be testing.

“We’re not like some gyms that are all about the money, there’s a family feel down at our gym and our members have kept their payments anyway,” he said.

“But, if it turns out we can’t open until the summer, people may say ‘We can’t afford to keep paying for something I can’t use’. And if we don’t get our memberships, then we can’t pay the rent.

“I know people from lots of gyms and everyone is struggling. It’s the same for all gyms at the moment.”

Looking forward, Phillips is hoping to be back open soon and returning to coaching and corner work with his fighters.

“I’ve never really had any plans, we just see how it goes,” he said.

“The main thing is to put time and effort into your gym and if you do that then things will come good. And we’ve always had that with our good team of coaches.”

Asked if we can expect another ten years for the gym, Phillips replied: “Definitely! Legions is too big to go away now.”

Legions Gym are sponsored by SAY Scaffolding.