When Batley’s Central Boxing Club opened last year, the trainers could hardly have dreamt their reputation would grow so quickly.
There has been a buzz around the gym since its opening but nobody could have expected to attract a fighter from Devon through their doors.
Jamie Speight suffered a points defeat to Central’s Josh Warrington in March but a bizarre set of circumstances has seen the 25-year-old from Kingsteignton up roots and base himself at the Batley gym.
Speight explained: “When I boxed Josh for the title, my coach didn’t turn up for the fight, so I was without a coach.
“Sean (O’Hagan, Josh’s trainer) told me after the fight that if I was ever without a corner man again to give him a call and he would work my corner.
“From then on we started talking more and more and we ended up getting together.
“I came up here for about four and a half weeks for my last fight. Obviously me and Josh get on well and I get on with the lads well and I’m definitely going to be staying here — consider me a Leeds man and a Central fighter from now on.
“I’ll train with all the boys at the Central gym - Josh, Gary Sykes and Femi Fehintola - and we’ll see where we go from here.
“I’ve seen vast improvements in a very short space of time. I’ve had all the strength and conditioning work with Mark (Hurley) and John (Tallant) at the Central and been doing the pad work with Sean and everything has come together lovely.
“I’m a new body for the lads to spar and bring different skills and I’ve been welcomed up here, the next step is to fight out of the Central as a home fighter.
“I made the weight comfortably (8st 9lb 6 0z) for my fight with Josh and I was fully hydrated and ate properly so I’ve moved down to super bantamweight, where the division is wide open.”
Speight was ringside for Warrington’s English title defence against Ian Bailey last Friday.
He walked into the ring with his former rival and was shouting encouragement from ringside throughout the 10 rounds.
Warrington also paid tribute to his former foe adding: “Jamie is a hell of a sportsman and you just wouldn’t have thought I boxed him last time.
“He was in the dressing room (last Friday) helping me glove up and walked out to the ring with me, which just shows what kind of person he is.
“With Jamie and Femi Fehintola making another couple of additions to the Central, we’re looking to have another successful season.”