Denton gym plays huge role in world champion boxer’s rise

DENTON continues to play a pivotal part in the development and career of boxer Jack Massey, the newly crowned IBO world cruiserweight champion.

Throughout the eight years since he turned professional, Massey has been based at Phoenix Camp which can be found in Heaton Street Mill, Catherine Street East.

That is where Massey, 28, made the seamless transition from successful amateur to eventually become a world champion under the watchful eye of father-and-son trainers Bobby and Robert Rimmer.

It is a relationship that has stood the test of time with Massey saying: “When you train six times a week, they become like family.

“After turning professional, I went to find a gym and the Phoenix Camp was the first one I looked around and hit it off with Rob’s dad and joined them straightaway and never looked at any other gym.”

Jack Massey celebrates with his team 

The culmination of eight years’ world came when Massey was crowned world champion in his 20th pro bout against Belgian Bilal Laggoune who he scored a technical knockout in the third round of their title fight at Bolton Whites Hotel.

Massey admitted it was unexpectedly quick as he had prepared to go the distance with Laggoune who had never been stopped and had an impressive record of 25 wins, two draws with this only his second loss.

He said: “Looking at his record, Bilal had never been stopped or put on the canvas.

“He was a tough opponent and I expected to go a longer distance and for me to have to grind him down. I didn’t expect to win so early in the fight.”

Massey has won 19 of his 20 pro bouts, 10 by knockout, with his only loss to a controversial decision Richard Riakporhe for the vacant British cruiserweight title in 2019.

A victorious Jack Massey

Earlier this year, he won the vacant IBF European title in Sheffield against Engin Karakaplan and back in 2015 claimed the WBC youth silver cruiserweight title, a world crown.

Robert, now head coach at Phoenix Camp, said: “I always believed Jack had the potential to be a world champion.

“It has been a good journey, though there have been some ups and downs in the last couple of years with a ruptured bicep, badly cut nose and he even went over on his ankle in the world title fight.

“Jack has missed out on some big opportunities because of those injuries, and it has been at times a hard road.

 

Jack Massey celebrates his world title win

“But it was fitting that Jack won the world title at Bolton Whites Hotel which is where he had his first pro fight.

“Phoenix Camp has a huge history with sport of the sport’s icons starting here, the likes of Ricky and Matthew Hatton, and it is nice to add Jack’s name to the unbelievable list.

“It is great Jack is getting the recognition he deserves. He will have a nice break over Christmas and then we will sit down as a team to discuss what happens next.”

Robert, who was previously his father’s number two at the camp, is part of a team which includes manager Kevin Maree while he is signed up with Dennis Hobson Promotions.

Massey, who originates from Chapel-en-le-Frith, now lives in Marple, Stockport, which is a short commute to the gym, his workplace in Denton.

He has been a full-time boxer for the last five years, but before that worked at Ferodo, the manufacturer of brake pads and the major employer in Chapel, and had a job polishing granite kitchen tops.

 

Jack Massey lands knockout punch

Thanks for generous sponsors, he was able to give up his day job and focus solely on boxing.
Massey admitted he was taken aback by the publicity for his world title fight which was followed by television and radio appearances and even an invite to be a guest by Manchester United for their Premier League home won against Arsenal.

Massey admitted, however, he only became a boxer my chance.

As a youngster, he and elder brother Daniel were promising ice hockey players in the juniors at top club Sheffield Steelers between the ages of seven and 15 and travelled overseas to tournaments in Germany and Canada.

It was when they were unable to get over to Sheffield because of bad weather that the brothers went to a local boxing gym to do some fitness work.

Massey became hooked and never went back to ice hockey and Daniel also had a handful of amateur fights.

Perhaps it should be no surprise, though, as the boxing gene runs deep through the family.

The uncle of Massey’s grandfather was a champion booth boxer, grandfather John Massey boxed in the Army, dad Dave fought as an amateur while brother Daniel also had a dabble.

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