Gym members were “in awe” when former world champion boxer Nigel Benn popped in for training.
Benn, the ex-world middleweight and super-middleweight champion, remembered for electrifying fights with Gerald McClellan, Chris Eubank and others, visited King’s Gym, in Percy Road, Leicester, yesterday afternoon.
Benn, who was nicknamed “Dark Destroyer”, was in Leicester for An Evening With Nigel Benn at the King Power Stadium, which included a meet and greet, a question-and-answer session and a two-course dinner.
However, he popped into King’s Gym beforehand.
Elvis Hopkins, owner of King’s Gym, which has only been open about 10 weeks, said Benn contacted him the day before to say he wanted to train there ahead of the event at King Power Stadium.
Elvis said: “As soon as he was in he forgot about his own training session and concentrated on the kids and helping them.
“He gave them advice and showed them how things should be done.
“It was great to get some advice from such a great fighter – a world champion.
“Everybody loved it. Everyone was over-the-moon.
“He signed a couple of gloves before he went, too.”
Carl Lawrence, who runs the gym with Elvis, said: “I was in awe. I have not been star-struck since I was a kid.
“He has an aura around him, a presence. To meet someone of that stature was amazing. You know he has been there and done it at the top level. But, he is also a down-to-Earth 52-year-old.”
Carl, 37, who is in the Army, said there were about 20 people in the gym at the time.
“Everyone was in awe of him and watching his every move. Everyone surrounded the ring and it turned into a masterclass with Nigel Benn.
“The advice he was giving was invaluable. For the 45 minutes he was there, it felt like we learned so much.”