Kickboxing champion Jamie McGinnis says opening a new gym in Carfin does not signal he is ready to give up on his career.
The New Stevenston fighter has been out of the ring for almost two years since suffering a horrific leg injury as he beat Zltko Traichov Gadzchev from Portugal for the world amateur lightweight crown.
Now after months of hard work he has opened Elite Kickboxing and Fitness Gym in Carfin Industrial Estate as he prepares to go under the knife the knife next month for what he hopes will be a career saving knee operation.
McGinnis said: “I’ve been looking to open a gym for a long time as there is nothing in the area for the kids so I wanted to get something set up them.
“I’ve been at it for six or seven months, but I’ve got it right with the help of friends, family and sponsors C&C Skips, Morton Rolls and Printed!.
“I spent a long time trying to find the right location and as I’m from New Stevenston Carfin is right on my doorstep so it’s ideal.
“When I came and saw the place I thought it was just what I was looking for, it was just a shell, but I saw the potential and have to thank Darren Gibb from Driver Hire as it’s his unit and if he hadn’t been so accommodating I wouldn’t be in this position.
“I preferred the rough and ready gyms when I was learning to fight, but this is a lot more modern and welcoming and allows people to train with the best facilities.
“I’m due another operation at the end of April so I wanted to get the gym opened for a month or two before then.
“This operation will strengthen things up and give me a 98 per cent chance of competing again.
“I’m hungry to fight, I miss it so much, now I’m watching everyone coming in and hitting my bags I wish it was me training in my own gym for an upcoming fight.
“After the operation it will just be a case of going through the recovery process, I’m putting everyone through their paces so it’ll be good for them to see their instructor being put through the same things they are and hopefully will all lead to a return to action at the end of the year.
“You don’t get that very often in gyms now, normally the coaches has been there and done it in the past, but I’ll be right there with them and hopefully will get a wee buzz if and when they are able to watch me fight.
“I’ve been taking kids, I’ve been taking women, I’ve been taking football teams for general fitness, the gym is open to everyone and it’s going really well so far.”
Despite facing another six or seven months in the sidelines McGinnis doesn’t regret continuing his fight with Gadzchev with an injured knee.
He said: “Loads of people ask me that and even my coach Charlie Parvin wonders if he should have thrown in the towel, but I had already snapped my cruciate ligament so it was whether I could grin and bare it and I was a world champion at the end of the night,.”
McGinnis is currently training former Hearts star Jose Quitongo for his in-ring debut as he takes on Hibs fans Bobby Collins this May.
Quitongo will strap on a pair of boxing gloves to take on the former amateur boxer turned wrestler in Edinburgh in aid of the Les Hoey DreamMaker Foundation.
The 40-year-old has never fought before, but is confident he is in good hands.
Quitongo said: “I’m here to get trained, Bobby challenged me and as he is a Hibs fan and I’m an ex-Hearts player it should be interesting.
“I’m up for the challenge, I’ve never been fighter, but the Elite gym is different class, I can highly recommend it, and I trust Jamie to get me in ring shape.
“I’m used to cycling and running, but this is a different kind of fitness, after just a few minutes in the ring my legs are tired, but I’m sure he’ll get me in a position to do my best.”