The man who propelled Putney boxer Joe Joyce on his way to Commonwealth gold is convinced the super-heavyweight can go all the way to Rio 2016.
Sid Khan, head coach at Earlsfield ABC and a legend in local boxing circles, nurtured the champion’s talent when he first entered his gym eight years ago.
Khan, 53, first met Joyce when he was a swimming instructor at Putney Leisure Centre, and now believes he has what it takes to take on the best in the world.
“We’re all well pleased for him, over the moon really,” he said.
“I hope he gets to the Olympics now, I’m sure he can do it.”
“All seven trainers from Earlsfield went up to Glasgow to cheer him on, but we had to take a bit of a gamble on him getting to the final as those were the only tickets we could get.
“We were crossing our fingers for him to get there but we had the confidence in him to do it.”
Khan has been a part of Earlsfield ABC since he was just 10 years old when his teachers sent him there to keep him out of trouble.
Having worked as head coach since he was 21, he admitted that Joyce was one of the easiest fighters he had ever had to train.
“He came in initially for one of our keep-fit sessions, but he’s just a natural athlete and a good listener so he wasn’t hard at all to teach.
“We knew he was too good for that class before long, so we put him into the boxing session and it all took off from there.”
He added: “It’s no accident that Joe came out of Earlsfield. A lot of boxers have come out of this club and we’ve had a lot of success.
“I have seven great trainers and lots of other good trainers came before them.”
The gym has a rich heritage producing some of the best boxers in the country, none more famous than former WBC heavyweight champion Frank Bruno.
Team effort: Joe Joyce, flanked by Clare and Sid Khan
Khan said Joyce’s win was also golden for the boxing community in Earlsfield, having received calls congratulating Joe from ABC representatives from as long ago as 1948.
He added: “The little kids get inspired by people like him and boxing keeps them out of trouble.
“I know the gym will be rammed for the next few weeks after Joe’s victory.”
l Earlsfield ABC welcomes boxers of all abilities Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm.