Down at Evolve Gym on Worrall Street in Ordsall, Dylan Bowen-Booth, is showing off his winners belts and a big silver trophy. Dylan, originally from Lower Broughton, has only been training for five years and already has three European and numerous British titles to his name including WMF European Champion, WKA K1 English Champion and British WKA Champion.
Dylan started when he was seven at Oliver's Gym. He say's he didn't get into it straight away… "I wasn't the best fighter at the gym when I first started but I kept going and now I am a European and British Champion… but I just liked the fighting and training straight away. I won my first title in 2009 when I was nine, I had my first fight there, it was in the British World Karate Association Championships, I got to the final and I won it!"
Dylan trains at Evolve three nights a week and is full of praise for the gym… "it's great, it's got loads of equipment, weights, pads, spare head guards and gloves, you don't need to buy anything you can just come down and train".
You can do other stuff as well, such as Parkour, Boxing and Martial Arts. Evolve is the leading centre for Parkour in the North West, the place is unique. It is only two years since it set up and already it is attracting leading athletes and training the stars of the future. Recently Laura Watson from St George's RC High School in Salford trained at Evolve before becoming World Speedway Cycle Champion.
Dylan's coach and dad Stan Bowen, who was also born and bred in Lower Broughton, and has been involved in Thai Boxing since he was 19 years old. He started coaching at Ronnie Greens, went on to coach at Oliver's Gym in Whit Lane and then moved to Evolve in the last couple of years. Stan has now trained three champions Connor Radcliffe, Mathias Akinyemmi and Dylan.
"There are a lot of lads getting in to gangs and this is great way to get away from that sort thing" he explains "This was why I wanted Dylan to do it, and look at him now."
So what next for Dylan? He's been invited to fights all over the world but it costs over £600 a time and there is no funding, so he has to raise sponsorship to get there. The big one will be when Dylan goes to Moldova with Pete Spencley's Celtic Challenge England Team to fight in the K-1 World Championships in March 2013.
Stan predicts that Dylan will be world champion one day so watch this space…
Evolve provides free coaching for youth groups. For details of this and all other costs, plus lots of videos of the gym see www.evolvemanchester.com
To contact Evolve phone 0161 877 8657
To follow Evolve on Facebook: www.facebook.com/manchester.mma
On Twitter: http://twitter.com/evolvemcr
Main photo and words by Steven Speed