‘This kid has got it all’ – Phoenix Camp coach Robert Rimmer hails unbeaten star Josh Holmes
The Phoenix Camp has risen from the ashes more than once.
The famous gym hasn’t always bore the same four walls, but its name has always lived on.
Between Billy Graham, Joe Gallagher and Bobby Rimmer, a dynasty was built across various sites in and around Manchester.
Ricky Hatton was, undeniably, the jewel in the crown of their indefatigable efforts to assemble a stable.
Now Robert Rimmer, the son of Bobby, is the newest incumbent hoping to add to its legacy. He’s seen it all since his early inauguration, when shadowing the experts in the warehouse at the back of Kerry Kayes’ Betta Bodies facility.
But even then, having racked his brain and perused the corridors of boxing’s Valhalla, he’s adamant that he hasn’t seen a talent as naturally gifted as Earby fighter Joshua Holmes.
“I’ve been around boxing all my life”, he said. “From being a young kid I’ve trained around some of the best fighters; Ricky Hatton, Matthew Macklin, Paul Smith, Michael Gomez, my Dad used to work alongside Billy Graham.
“I’ve been all around the world, but in terms of seeing natural talent, Josh is a serious talent.
“I’m not being biased because a lot of people in the boxing world have seen him, whether that be sparring or around the gym. Nothing fazes him, he’s like a sponge, if you give him an instruction he does it instantly.
“I’m challenging him all the time, I’m putting him in with these lads who are seasoned pros, at British level, European level, and I just sit back, admire it, smile, and think that ‘this kid has got it all’.
“It’s not just his talent, either. It’s the way he conducts himself outside the ring, his mannerisms, he’s got the full package.”
The unbeaten super-featherweight, a former Yorkshire champion when attached to Eastburn ABC, will feature on the undercard of Jack Massey’s attempts to land the vacant IBO World Cruiserweight title when he takes on Belgian Bilal Laggoune.
A stacked card at Bolton Whites Hotel tonight — which will also see Nathaniel Collins and Mark Jeffers challenge for honours — will mark the flagship show of Fight Academy’s revolutionary partnership with broadcasters Fightzone.
Rimmer said: “It’s massive, it’s going to help him excel, it’s going to help him grow. To have the opportunity to be on such a card, with all the hype, alongside Jack Massey and Charlie Schofield, who are already collecting titles, it creates that little bit more hunger and desire.
“This is the most prestigious one of all so far, with it being a world title. It’s going to better him and give him that drive.
“I try to create that kind of atmosphere in the gym, they’re all bouncing off each other, there’s nothing but positive energy. Everybody wants to be number one. You get nothing for finishing second in this sport.
“It creates that mindset when you see what they are achieving and where they are going. For top prospects like Josh who are coming through, it can only do wonders for their careers. It’s a win-win for them.
“I’ve always said that success breeds success. They’ve all got that same goal so the results will come.
“All these lads are performing, even those on the outside looking in can tell that they’re going from strength to strength.
“This is only going to make things bigger such as the profile for myself, the gym, the lads. It’s huge!”
Holmes faces Russian fighter Ruslan Berchuk tonight [Friday].