Is this man the best boxing trainer in South Yorkshire?

Ryan Rhodes
Ryan Rhodes

Ryan Rhodes believes that in three short years he has become the best professional boxing trainer in the area.

That’s quite a claim when you factor in Dominic Ingle, Glyn Rhodes, Dave Coldwell, Clinton Woods, Stefy Bull and the like.

Ross Burkinshaw

Ross Burkinshaw

But the relative green-horn isn’t being arrogant or big-headed in his self-assessment.

Rhodes believes his background, experience and his own eye for the latest boxing and training techniques gives him a similar edge to the one that led him to 46 victories in 52 fights and the cusp of world titles.

And he says his self-belief is based on common sense, when you consider he is trying to attract South Yorkshire’s top boxers to his growing stable.

“I would say I was the best around here - why not?” he asks.

Sam O'maison

Sam O'maison

“If I was to say ‘he’ was or ‘another guy’ was then my fighters would be wondering what they were doing being trained by me!

“But, despite that, I honestly believe I am out there and I am not being big-headed.

“Everybody has got their own unique style and pattern but I think I have got a winning formula.

“And that is based on experience, I have been there, seen it, done it. I have been on the wrong end of a few decisions regarding trainers, managers and promoters so I know what to look out for, from both sides. I have experience and that knowledge is leading my fighters towards winning titles.”

Loua Nassa and team

Loua Nassa and team

Rhodes runs his relatively new 26RR Fitness gym, for boxers and keep-fitters on London Road, Sheffield and it has been booming in terms of popularity from both professionals and amateurs.

He leans on his own background - and has fond memories of his time under the mentorship of Brendan Ingle, undoubtedly the father of Sheffield’s modern day boxing scene.

“Back in the day, Brenda was THE MAN in boxing. My role model. Outside of London he helped make Sheffield the most successful boxing city in the UK. He was behind a whole string of champions from world titles at the top, down to European, Commonwealth, British, central area, even.

“I learned a lot from him and the fact that he developed a winning formula and stuck with it.

“During my time there I went all round the world supporting Naseem Hamed and Johnny Nelson, sparred in Germany and picked up little bits of things wherever I went.”

Rhodes, aged 39, says he added his own flourish and individuality to the process of coaching fighters.

“It was Curtis Woodhouse who started me off training, really” said Rhodes. “About three years ago, he was taking his son to Rotherham United to play football, and asked me whether I would train him while he was over here. I said yes and Curtis enjoyed how it went and so did I. Then after that it snowballed.

“You learn pretty quick that training is not the same as boxing. When you are a fighter you have to be selfish, thinking about number one all the time.

“Training and managing you have to think about the whole camp.”

Now his flock include Ross Burkinshaw, Sam O’maison, Tom McCassey, Lou and Ramzy Nassa, Louis Rutherford, Tommy Chadburn, Karl Bell and Callum Hancock. The gym, which includes trainers Steve Bailey and Mark Willie, has just applied for professional licenses for two more Sheffield fighters, Chris Dutton and Joel Palmer. “I am still learning, obviously. There are so many different scenarios that come at you and that you have to deal with, you learn from each one. I had a fantastic fight career and now I want to work with any other trainer, promoter or manager so long as I get my fighters the titles they want.”