Glyn Rhodes lifts lid on infamous Leisure Centre scrap AFTER the fight

IT’S taken more than two decades for the ugly details to leak out — exactly what happened behind the dressing room doors at a high-profile boxing evening in Rotherham.

Back in the year 2000, lurid newspaper headlines had speculated about a behind-the-scenes punch-up between rival trainers at Herringthorpe Leisure Centre.

There were even suggestions that someone was stabbed in the rumpus.

Trainer Glyn Rhodes, who went on to be awarded the MBE by (the then) Prince Charles ten years later — has now lifted the lid on the incident, in his newly-published book, Good and Evil.

He admits it was not his “finest hour”.

In his autobiography, Rhodes described how the bout between his boxer, Jason Barker, and former world champion Paul “Silky” Jones had been billed as a grudge match.

At the Herringthorpe weigh-in, the day prior, Jones had arrived with a “load of bodybuilders from a gym in Rotherham flanking him, all these steroid monsters, which felt a bit unnecessary”.

There was partisan backing for both men, he wrote, adding this about the fans: “An aspect that made me particularly uncomfortable was that Paul was black and Jason was white, which maybe seemed to inform some of the choices.

“I didn’t feel like we needed that sort of divisive energy. Not at all,” said the Sheffield Boxing Centre owner.

“One of the great things about boxing is that it always brings black kids and white kids together.”

The favourite Jones, who had trained for the match in a nearby Rotherham gym, went on to triumph via a fifth-round technical knockout, but Rhodes said there was bad blood in the immediate aftermath...and not from the boxers, either.

Cornermen from each side exchanged unpleasantries across the canvas before “mayhem” exploded in Barker’s dressing room.

Trainers from each side clashed just at the moment Rhodes was cutting off the hand bandages from another boxer, Paul Owen.

One of the rival cornermen argued with Rhodes, who wrote: “I ended up hitting him with a left hook. As he went down, he grabbed hold of me, pulling me to the floor.

“I found myself on top of him but still had my fingers in the scissors I had been using to cut off Paul’s hand wraps.

“Someone was screaming to get the scissors as if I was going to stab him with them, but I wasn’t. They just happened to be in my hand.

“We were pulled apart and somehow everything calmed enough for us all to go home.”

On reflection, 22 years later, Rhodes wrote that he had to accept it was not his “finest hour”.

The gym owner tells in the book of his devastation at being closely involved in four ring tragedies, the last of which prompted him to undergo a course of psychotherapy.

He also gives his sometimes abrasive thoughts on boxing personnel like Rotherham’s Dave Coldwell and Sheffield’s Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson, and Herol Graham.

* Beyond Good and Evil, Glyn Rhodes MBE, a Life in Boxing. Written by Mark Turley. Published by Pitch Publishing.

 

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