Earby boxer Josh Holmes hoping cultured grounding in the sport will pay off

Earby boxer Josh Holmes at the famous Stanglwirt hotel in Austria
Earby boxer Josh Holmes at the famous Stanglwirt hotel in Austria

Josh Holmes models himself on Prince Naseem Hamed, named Vasyl Lomachenko as his idol, has had one-to-one tuition with Freddie Roach and has trained inside the same four walls as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Wladimir Klitschko.

And now the 23-year-old boxer from Earby will have Robert Rimmer in his corner having joined Manchester’s famous Phoenix Gym, the institution responsible for the best British light-welterweight of all time, Ricky Hatton.

The super-featherweight fighter has seen things and done things that most amateurs in the sport have never had the luxury of experiencing. In fact, the former mechanic is probably more cultured than many professionals in the game.

Holmes was in Los Angeles two years ago at Roche’s Wild Card Gym where he sparred with Chris Avalos, a WBA Super World Featherweight title challenger and one-time opponent of Carl Frampton.

As well as mastering his craft alongside unbeaten Frenchman Jaber Zayani, the new owner of a WBO Oriental strap, Holmes trained at the at the famous Stanglwirt hotel in Austria with personal trainer Bjorn Schulz.

The recently turned pro, who also shared a ring with IBF European light-heavyweight champion Alem Begic, said: “My style is a bit of a mix. In the amateurs I was known for being aggressive and powerful.

“As a pro I know I’ve got to calm down a little and take my time a bit more. I need to look at picking my shots.

“I’m always learning. I like to replicate Prince Naseem’s style, slipping shots, but I’m trying to craft my own style from my experiences.

“Going to Freddie Roche’s gym in LA was a surreal experience. He told me that I needed to make a few small tweaks before turning over and I think I’ve done that now.

“The dream for me is to have a world title shot but I know that I need to take things one step at a time. First I need to be looking at area titles and building towards the British. I think that belt is on everyone’s list.

“I don’t think I’ll have to wait a long time to get a shot at a title because I’ve got a good amateur pedigree.”

The former Crosshills ABC and Eastburn ABC pugilist will make his debut at King George’s Hall on Maree Boxing’s ‘Fight Night’ card on Saturday, March 30th.

And he’s certainly developed a habit of winning ahead of his bow. He won 24 of 29 bouts in the amateurs, winning a couple of Yorkshire area title belts.

Holmes was also crowned England Senior Development champion following victory over London titlist Jerome Campbell.

He earned his place in the finale at Grantham Meres Leisure Centre having beaten North West and Tyne and Wear champion Jason Weir in the quarter-finals and East Midlands supremo Michael Jephcott at the semi-final stage.

“I was at Crosshills ABC with Paul Newby first for around 2/3 years,” he said. “I was just training there and getting a feel for it. Then I moved to Eastburn where I had my first amateur fight at the age of 17.

“I won two Yorkshire area titles during my time there and went two-and-a-half years undefeated. Nobody could take those belts away from me. I get to keep them for good now.

“Now I’ve turned pro I just have this feeling of pure excitement ahead of making my debut and I just want to get in the ring.

“I’ve got a good following and I’m looking forward to putting on a good show for everyone that comes to watch.”