TOP-RATED GYM: FUTURE HOME OF WORLD CHAMPS
By Salven L. Lagumbay
28 Oct 2009
In the world of boxing, there are a few gyms that truly excite both the casual and the solid boxing fans, and getting the chance to actually visit them is already an experience of a lifetime.
Freddie Roach's Wild Card Gym in LA, for instance, has become the destination for both fans and boxers in the US, same thing with Emmanuel Steward's Kronk Gym and of course, the Romanza Gym where Nacho Beristain plies his trade in Mexico.
Closer to home, there's the ALA Gym in Cebu, where every boxing fan who sets foot in the country would almost always mention.
I had the priviledge of visiting Daniel Potter's Top Rated Boxing Gym in Bangkok recently, and although it had just been opened for public viewing on Friday, Oct. 23, it wouldn't be too much of a stretch to say that this would be the next go-to gym in Thailand.
Potter, a 36-year-old Australian national, has tied up with Bangkok businessman Lervisit Yongyut to put up the Top Rated Gym which will house the offices and gym of Top Rated International Promotions and the Yong Yut Promotions.
"This gym is a labor of love for the boxers. Daniel Potter spent a fortune on this gym," said Thai national Len, who serves as Potter's man Friday in the gym's day-to-day operations.
Yongyut owns the building, which used to be a silver factory in Bangkok's Bangkhunnon-Talingchan district, but it was Potter who bankrolled the cutting-edge, top-of-the-line facilities as well as the total facelift of the building.
"I plan to have my boxers train here, and also WBO champion Marvin Sonsona and Ciso Morales, they can train here. They will benefit from the number of sparmates available in this gym," Potter told us in a conversation during the opening of the gym.
"This is just awesome. I've never seen anything like this," gushes Peter Mitrevski Sr, boxing manager to undefeated King Davidson who is based in Australia. Mitrevski came just for the inauguration of the gym.
When asked if superstar Manny Pacquiao and trainer Freddie Roach would be welcome to train at the Top Rated Gym for a possible fight with Floyd Mayweather Jr, Len says Potter would most definitely be amenable to the idea. In fact, Potter has mentioned that he might fly to the US to watch the Pacquiao-Cotto fight at the MGM Grand on November 14 should his schedule permit.
Friday's inauguration was attended by some of the region's biggest boxing leaders with no less than IBF's Ray Wheatley and WBO's Leon Panoncillo, two of the most hard-working boxing reps in the world, flying in to be at the launching. A WBC point man was also on hand for the occasion.
Both Panoncillo and Wheatley agree that the gym is indeed one of its kind, with the first floor housing the two rings and gigantic mirrors neatly placed against the wall in front of the rings. The second floor has the brand new weight-training facilities with some more coming in the next few days. The third floor houses the hotel-quality rooms for the trainers as well as the private room for Potter where a giant television is also installed. The fourth-floor has a large screen tv, as well as a billiards table and well-appointed rooms for the boxers.
It took four months to finish the gym, where definitely millions of baht were poured into, but the result has been worth all the effort put in by Potter, who promotes Thai sensation Saddam Kietyongyuth and several other prospects.
The other visitors who flew in for the opening were Potter's friends Bill Lagos, Keith Twentyman, and Peter Mitrevski Jr as well as Autralia-based Francis Okwechima.
Top photo: (L-R) Thai businessman Levirsit Yongyuth, Ray Wheatley and Potter in front of the TOP RATED gym.
Daniel Potter poses with his ace boxer Saddam Kietyongyuth at the opening of the Top Rated gym.
(L-R) WBO's Leon Panoncillo and IBF'S Ray Wheatley with Potter.
Adviser and matchmaker Scott Mallon (L) with Potter.
The 4th floor of the gym with the billiards table and conference table.
Brand new Twins equipments.
NOTES: Daniel Potter and his group are planning to put up an event in Singapore sometime in January, with some of his top fighters seeing action...Among Potter's prospects is Australia-based Filipino Ariel Barotillo, a recent Cebu visitor who won his last bout at the Cebu Coliseum. Potter is also eyeing Filipino Jimrex Jaca, whom he described as a "nice kid." Jaca, according to Potter, can still become a world champion if given the right support. The Cebu fighter is now training at the famed ALA Gym...Potter has tapped the services of Scott Mallon, a Bangkok-based journalist, as his advisor and matchmaker...Filipino trainer Jhun Agrabio, who is familiar with Potter, says the young boxing manager/promoter will definitely be successful in the future. "He is a principled man, and he has a heart for the poor." says Agrabio, whose brother Dodie Boy, the former Philippine junior lightweight champ, had been given opportunity by Potter to say action in his previous events...For those who might be interested to visit Top Rated Gym, its exact location is 168/58 Soi Chiyaphruek 3 Bangkhunnon-Talingchan Rd Klongchakpra Talingchan, Bangkok. Contact Len in advance at +66870305216.
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