We visited the Champs Camp Gym in Manchester to speak with former British champion and world title challenger Ensley Bingham about his life and career in boxing and to find out what the man they called ‘Bingo’ because of his famous left hook, is up to these days.

In an exclusive in-depth interview for BritishBoxers.co.uk ‘Bingo’ reflects on his career, how he started boxing after being a sick child who died at birth and was told he probably wouldn’t make it through the night, but Bingo was born a fighter!

He started boxing training young after being told by the doctor that it may help his condition. Because of his problems at birth Ensley was left with undeveloped lungs and has a child was alway short of breath as a result.

The rest is history and after struggling at first to get into boxing, he eventually found his love, his passion and his future and against all the odds went on to become the British light-middleweight champion and go on to challenge a prime Ronald ‘Winky’ Wright for the championship of the world.

Ensley started in boxing seriously when he went along to the Collyhurst and Moston Lads club and met Brian Hughes. Hughes took a young Bingo and gym mate Lance Williams over to the Kronx Gym in Detroit when they were young and it was an experience that was to help mold the fighter he became.

Ensley remembers training in the Kronx when it was at it’s peak, when Thomas ‘The Hitman’ Hearns was only the third best fighter in the famous gym. He recalls sparring with a young Frank Tate, the McCrory brother, Steve and Milton and other names who went on to engrave their names on the boxing history stones. In this exclusive interview with Ensley he tells us about being in a restaurant in Detriot at the time with Emanuel Steward and Thomas Hearns when they signed to fight Sugar Ray Leonard in 1981.

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Ensley eventually left Brian Hughes after a difference of opinion and joined the Champs Camp in Moss Side on the other side of the city run by the founder and head coach, Phil Martin. It is here where his career really took off, where he turned professional would fulfill his Lonsdale belt dream, win it outright and go onto fight for the world crown.

It was a long road for Ensley before he would finally lay his hands on the Lonsdale belt and get his shot at the world title. He was figting seasoned quality pro’s after just his 4th fight, going in with the likes of Clinton McKenzie, Kostas Petrou and Wally Swift Jr. earning him a shot at the British title in just his 11th pro outing. – Ensley didnt win the belt that night, but his time was to come, he would eventually be crowned British Champ.

After Phil Martin had died in 1994, his assistant coach Billy Graham, set up his own gym in Salford called the Phoneix Camp and some of the fighters from Champs Camp flitted over there with him, including Ensley, who after an heart to heart with Graham was convinced by the ‘Preacher’ that he still had too much to give, after ‘Bingo’ had contemplated quiting boxing.
Ensley and Billy set out on a mission to fight for the British title and push onto a world title crack in the new surroundings of the Phoenix Camp.
His early baptism of fire in professional boxing stood him in good stead, when in January 1996, he knocked out Gilbert Jackson at Bowlers in Manchester in-front of all his family and friends to claim the prize he wanted the most and follow in the line of British champions that he had started out with at the Champs Camp.
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