The boxing world was today saddened to hear the news that Sheffield’s Brendan Ingle had passed away at the age of 77. The trainer of champions passed away in hospital earlier today and British boxing lost one of its finest trainers and inspirational figures. One man who paid tribute is former world title challenger Matthew Macklin, the former middleweight telling Sky Sports how he feels Ingle deserves to go down as this country’s best boxing trainer.
“Brendan Ingle will probably go down as maybe the best trainer ever to come out of Britain,” Macklin said today. “His techniques were unorthodox and he did it time and time again. Some trainers inherit good fighters that are Olympians or had great amateur pedigree. Those fighters are supposed to go on and have great careers. But Brendan took 10-year olds who didn’t know a jab from an uppercut, he took them all through the amateurs, turned them pro at 18 and took them to world class, and world champion on more than one occasion. So in that respect you would have to say he was probably the most successful boxing trainer Britain has ever produced.”
Ingle certainly made one huge impact on British and world boxing. Training, most notably, Naseem Hamed, Herol “Bomber” Graham and Johnny Nelson, the owner of The Wincobank Gym in Sheffield taught a quite unique style that focused strongly on defence. Graham for instance, was all but impossible to hit with a clean shot during his prime years. Inspired, like many millions of people, by Muhammad Ali, the young Ingle taught his fighters the importance of balance and footwork.
Ingle later became famous for giving his fighters nicknames that were designed to fool their opponents over the style they would have – for example “Slugger” O’Toole, was really a slick boxer, as was “Bomber” Graham – and at a time when obtaining tapes of fights was not as easy as it is today this tactic certainly did throw off many a good opponent of an Ingle fighter.
In his later years Ingle passed on head training duties to his two sons, who carry on working with the likes of Kell Brook. But Brendan was the mastermind and, though Britain has had its share of fine boxing trainers, perhaps the man born in Dublin in 1940 is deserving of being remembered as this country’s greatest.
Who was Ingle’s greatest fighter though – “Naz,” “Bomber,” “The General” (Nelson) or someone else?