Ryan Rhodes' Sheffield gym helps breadline boxers
Video: Breadline boxers -it's a side to the fight game not many people see.
The big fights backed by lavish TV production seem pretty glamorous - but underneath that level most grassroots boxers find it hard to make ends meet.
Ryan Rhodes, who bucked the trend and made a decent living (1995-2012), is now planning to expand his gym business to guide fight prospects.
He, himself, made a career-defining purse boxing Saul Alvarez in 2011, but recognises many local fighters are now feeling the pinch.
“This game is hard enough without boxers having to sell tickets on the day of the fight, or work night shifts as a DJ just to pay for food and enough petrol to get to the gym” he says.
“There are tons of fighters round here who have to scrape by. So we are working on a plan to make things easier” he said.
“We will promote any South Yorkshire boxers who want our help, get their name out there, give them a brand, logos, develop them on social media and give them a marketing package that will attract people to buy tickets.”
TV shows are rare for most fighters, says Rhodes.
“If it’s tough for a promoter like Dennis Hobson to get fights on TV, it will be for others.
“Sky Sports have done a brilliant job marketing boxing, setting the tone for others to follow. We want to adapt what they do, modernise the way we go about things locally, whether you are a member of our gym or not.”
Rhodes says his gym provides “healthy competition” but insists he is not involved in this promotional side-venture to lure boxers away from rival centres.
“We just want to give lads who have the courage to get into a ring a platform.
“Look at how Anthony Joshua has been branded and become a household name.
“We want to do our own version - spice up the way we promote our boxers” said the one-time ‘Spice Boy’ light middleweight who is moving gym to bigger premises in Shalesmoor on Tuesday.
Rhodes is staging a five-fight show in association with Hobson, at Sheffield United’s ground on September 30, and will test the water by giving the event a “Vegas experience” treatment. “We will have video features, press conferences, weigh-ins, interviews, hopefully live-streaming on line.”
Rhodes is hoping his bill will be Adnan Amar, Callum Hancock, Chris Dutton, Kyle Yousaf and Shiregreen debutant Nathan Unice.
n Conisbrough heavyweight Dave Allen - attempting to bounce back after his first defeat - is ‘mentally lazy’ according to the man who put him on the professional ladder. Promoter Dennis Hobson encouraged the “White Rhino” to turn professional four years ago.
And Hobson has kept an eagle eye on the 24-year-old man who lost on a unanimous decision to rival Dillian Whyte at Leeds in July.
Allen’s CV now stands at Won nine Lost one Drawn one.
He fights again, against Noureddine Meddoun, a Swindon-based Morrocan, at Doncaster Dome on September 3.
Some fight enthusiasts thinks campaigning at heavyweight is too big an ask for Allen.
Hobson says: “I think Dave could have got down to cruiser, but he can also operate at heavyweight. I think he’s capable of winning something but his work rate has always been questionable.
“He can trouble some of the heavyweights but he has to work harder. Hopefully the Whyte fight has been a learning curve for him” said the Sheffield businessman.
“He’s still young and can come again; he’s a clever boxer and he can whack.
“I’ve always had belief in him but mentally he’s lazy.
“He’s maturing though and it could take time for him to fulfil his potential.
“He’s frustrating but I do like him a lot as a person, and I’d like to see him win something because I have a soft spot for him.”