Johnny Nelson says growing up in and around Brendan Ingle's gym prepared him for the tough situations he would face in life
Former world champion Johnny Nelson says trainer Brendan Ingle’s gym was ahead of its time, uniting people from different communities in Sheffield.
Nelson describes Ingle as both his mentor and best friend, crediting the Dubliner with making him the person he is today and the inspiration behind his meteoric rise to becoming one of the world’s elite boxers.
Naseem Hamed and Herol Graham were among the conveyor belt of British world champions produced by the Irishman at St Thomas’ Boys and Girls Club – often referred to as Ingle’s Gym – in the Wincobank area of Sheffield.
My Icon is a 31-part series on Sky Sports Mix, bringing you interviews with BAME sportsmen and women every day in October
It was there Nelson learnt the lessons in life that would help him deal with adversity, horrific racial abuse, and the fame that would come his way in the future.
“To me it was a magical place and it was one of a kind,” Nelson says in a hard-hitting two-part My Icon special, airing on Sunday.
“They talk about multiculturalism now but our gym has been multicultural for the last 40 or 50 years.
“So many barriers were broken down in that gym and so many politically incorrect situations were dealt with in that gym so when it came to real-life scenarios we were prepared.”
Nelson talks about his journey in episodes eight and nine of My Icon, which premiere on Sunday at at 7am on Sky Sports Mix and is available On Demand. The two-parter is repeated on Sunday at 12.55pm.
Coinciding with Black History Month, Sky Sports’ #MyIcon campaign brings you 31 exclusive interviews with top BAME sports personalities across the month of October. For more information click here.