Legend lives on as Jack Bishop Boxing Academy opens

The legend of Mr Boxing lives on.

Wednesday, 16th January 2019, 4:25 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th February 2019, 5:29 pm
Jack Bishop with his boxer Billy Bessey. Picture: Mick Young

One of the greats of the noble art has been immortalised following the creation of the Jack Bishop Boxing Academy.

And Bishop’s legacy is set to be the emergence of more champion’s from his gym after a massive renovation and makeover.

The respected figure, who died at the age of 94 in 2017, guided 10 boxers to titles including three British champions in a lifetime of dedication to boxing.

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Now one of his charges has helped ensure the Fareham man’s gym has been brought back to life and will once again reverberate to the sound of boxers being put through their paces.

Leigh Park’s former ABA champion and heavyweight pro, Billy Bessey, was trained by Bishop and it’s his determination along with Luther Jerrim which has seen his Southampton gym reborn.

Bessey feels the gym is one befitting a figure of Bishop’s standing.

He said: ‘Jack kept boxing alive on the south coast for years and years.

‘That’s why I went to him when I was boxing.

‘It wasn’t just his boxing, he was in the SAS and the man really was a legend.

‘When he died there were keep-fit classes going on, but there was never going to be any other champions coming out of the gym.

‘So, for me, it wasn’t being used as it should and I wanted to do something about that.

‘I want to see champions coming out of the gym again and Jack’s name at the forefront of that.

‘Now kids who would never have heard about Jack will get to know about him.

‘There’s been a good few thousand spent on it and it looks brilliant. It’s been totally updated and renovated.

‘It’s been emotional but it’s going brilliantly.’

Bessey explained the aim is for the gym to become a community hub and will be available to people of all ages and backgrounds.

That means not only will be boxers of all abilities be catered for, but all kinds of fitness classes will be taking place.

Bessey added: ‘In terms of boxing, we want it to be amateur, professional, white collar and cover every aspect.

‘Jack was all about pro boxing but he knew the way things were moving in the sport and how white collar was growing

‘We’re going to be ABA registered, but there’s other classes going on as well.

‘The YMCA are sending people for us to train and there are going to be lessons, too. It’s brilliant.

‘There’s zumba training going on and a personal trainer in there as well.

‘We want to maximise the gym and make the most of every hour we can use it.

‘But there’s also a link to the past with the son of one of Jack’s best boxers - Jan Magdziarz - running classes.

‘There are robes from Jack and his boxers and all of the old pictures of him are up on the wall.

‘People have spent a lot of time and effort to get it to where it is now.

‘And now Jack’s name will live on.’

Bishop’s family have spoken at their pride at the new gym and appreciation to Bessey and those who made it a reality.

Bishop’s daughter, Wendy Gambie, said: ‘My dad was loved by so many people.

‘I still miss him so much, but the gym is creating a legacy which will see his name live on.

‘I’m really proud of what Billy Bessey and those involved have done. This is making sure my dad is never forgotten – and we're grateful.’