Golden era in recent history of Leeds city gym

THE Golden Team Gym in Leeds is celebrating a remarkable run of recent results for their fighters, with their owner hailing the “buzzing” atmosphere of the place.

Tuesday, 22nd October 2019, 6:00 am
Golden Team Gym owner Padraic McDonagh with Thai boxer Nicola Barke.

The Leeds-based gym is the training base of boxer Mick Learmonth, UFC star Marc Diakiese and Thai boxer Nicola Barke – all of whom have recorded career-best performances in their last fights.

Learmonth recorded a clear points win over Pawel Strykowski live on BT Sport last month, scoring a knockout en route to moving his record to 8-0.

Barke travelled back to her home country of Burma and won her top-of-the-bill clash against Bianka Balajti in her first fight in the Lethwei discipline of Thai boxing.

UFC star Marc Diakiese.

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And, Diakiese secured back-to-back victories in the prominent MMA promotion UFC by taking a unanimous decision over Lando Vannata in Copenhagen.

Despite their differing disciplines of combat sport, all three are trained by Seacroft-born Padraic McDonagh, the owner of the Golden Team Gym.

He is eager to praise the accomplishments of his fighters and their “massive achievements” as of late, beginning with Learmonth.

“There’s some brilliant stuff going on at the gym at the moment and it’s a great atmosphere about the place.

Golden Team Gym owner Padraic McDonagh.

“Over the past five or six weeks, we’ve had some massive achievements for the fighters and for the gym.

“Going down to London with Mick on the undercard to the UltimateBoxxer tournament was a great experience.

“We got a great chance to box on the bill and Mick put in a career-best performance.

“It was our first time boxing out of Leeds but he took everything in his stride when it came to the fight.

“Mick’s getting better with every fight.

“He’s not had many amateur fights.

“But he lives the life inside and outside the ring. He dedicates his life to the sport and you can only dream of training lads like that.”

McDonagh also travelled to Burma for Barke’s fight in Lethwei – a sport which allows kicks, elbows, knees and headbutts.

“Nicola, believe it or not, works as a bank manager at HSBC as a day job. She had a couple of sessions with me at the gym and we just gelled.

“Lethwei is a brutal sport but she did her city and the country proud.

“Nicola is like a national icon over there. We couldn’t walk down the street without people swarming her and there were people jumping out of their cars to stop and get a photo with her.

“The show was fantastic and like nothing that I’ve ever seen before.

“We’d travelled over from Leeds, the other side of the world, and we were top of the bill. Speaking personally, as someone who was born on a council estate in Leeds, to be at an event like that, it blew me away.”

On Diakise, McDonagh added: “I’ve worked with Marc for a while.

“When I started working with him, he was in a little bit of a downward spiral and he’d lost his last three fights in the UFC.

“But he’s regrouped and put a new team together which has been great to be a part of.

“Since then, he’s had two wins in six months and won out in Copenhagen last month.

“It’s onwards and upwards for his career now.”