Ringside Special spoke to stars of Brendan Ingle's Wincobank Gym
Last Updated: 24/10/13 7:20pm
We went behind the scenes at Wincobank Gym on Ringside Special this week to take a look at the influence of Brendan Ingle.
The esteemed trainer has created a stable which has produced British, European and world champions, with star names Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson, Junior Witter and Kell Brook among those to have emerged under his tutelage.
Ahead of Brook's Sky Live clash with Vyacheslav Senchenko on Saturday, Ringside Special spoke with the key men at the gym and some of the big names to have learnt their trade there.
Here's an excerpt of what they had to say - and you can catch repeats of the show across the weekend, including 8pm, Thursday, Sky Sports 4 HD or watch it via Sky Go here.
Johnny Nelson - former cruiserweight world champion
If I'd walked away from boxing [after drawing with Carlos De Leon] it would have affected me for the rest of my life in everything I do. I'd never have tried to push myself in anything. The only person who was there behind me, that knew where I was coming from, was Brendan. He understood I had to fix this. So when it came to boxing for the world title against Carl Thompson, it wasn't about winning it for me. It was about winning it for the gym. I had nothing, no natural talent, no raw ability. I wasn't gifted as a sportsman, I wasn't aggressive, I wasn't a hardcase. Everything you see in me was developed in this gym. I'm not a former champion that's come in and Brendan's tweaked. I've been made from scratch. So to win a world title was to pay back the gym.
Ryan Rhodes - former light-middleweight British and European champion
The first Saturday morning I came in here I went and spoke to Brendan and he was shouting young kids up at my age. He was asking them questions, they were answering him. I was looking in the ring, watching the lads sparring. There were people on the bags, people on the pads and I just remember thinking 'I like this'. I hadn't heard anyone with an Irish accent before but I looked up to him straight away because he said what you needed to do. When I started coming through the amateurs I used to look up to Herol Graham and Johnny Nelson and Fidel Castro Smith - and they were in here with cameras, getting interviewed. It looked really good and I wanted a part of that.
Junior Witter - former light-welterweight champion
I remember seeing Ryan when he was 13 or 14 and he was a short, stocky kid with massive shoulders and a lot of power. But he was raw. The foot movement didn't suit him and it didn't look like he'd be able to master it. I came along five years later and boxed him and we had a close fight. He'd gone from a kid who looked like he'd be nowhere near being able to switch, to hit, to a kid who did it really well and who had really improved. With that, and knowing Nas in the amateurs as I did, I thought 'that's the place I want to go' and a few other amateur trainers said to me 'if you want to go pro, that's the place you want to go with your style'.
Kell Brook - former British welterweight champion
All the young guys look up to me and I always stay about to talk to them and their parents [in the gym]. The kids love it and keep coming down. They've got that bounce in their leap like I did when I was their age. Once I got into the gym Brendan was telling me for years I was going to be world champion and could see that spark in me. After winning championships in amateurs I thought 'this is what I want'. Before that, as a young kid in the gym, I was seeing Nas and Ryan and Johnny Nelson and thinking 'I want that, I want to be world champion'.