‘Rydal Psycho’ returns to help his old gym recover from lockdown


A former professional boxer agreed to complete a succession of lunges on Mount Snowdon to help his old gym recover from the lockdown.

Welterweight prodigy Joe Wood was forced to retire from the sport for health reasons in 2018, after building a formidable reputation.

Joe, who fought under the nickname “Rydal Psycho”, has always been a popular figure at Rydal Gym on Stanley Road in Kirkdale.

The young fighter, known for the Hannibal Lecter-style face mask he sometimes wore, has built up a loyal following in the city.

In 2017, Joe got into a fight on the under-map of a Callum Smith fight at ECHO Arena when he stopped Ilian Markov from a distance.

Joe, who no longer boxs professionally, recently agreed to help his old gym raise money for a new mezzanine by making his way to Mount Snowdon.

Joe will be joined by Lee McDonald, known to Rydal regulars as “Ducks”. But rather than go back up Snowdon, the pair decided to complete the splits on the 4.7 mile route.

Joe told ECHO: “Yes, we have decided to make our way to Snowdon. The route we have chosen is about 4.7 miles, which is about 8,000 lunges each.

“The fundraising target is £ 5,000 which will be the cost of building a new mezzanine in the gymnasium. We practiced in the Kirkdale area and had a lot of weird looks, but everything is in a good cause. “

Joe Wood at Rydal Gym in 2018: Photo by James Maloney

Robbie Butler, who runs the Rydal, said: “The pandemic meant we faced financial ruin. Joe and Lee agreed to climb Mount Snowden to raise much-needed funds for the Rydal to help us continue to provide a range of services. “

The Rydal is based in the old Bankhall Girls Institute building on Stanley Road. The institute provided education for girls in the Kirkdale area. In the 1970s the building became the Rydal Youth Center, but it closed around 2006 due to funding issues. In 2010 Robbie took over the Rydal with a companion, investing £ 20,000.

The gymnasium is proud of the positive role it plays in the North Liverpool community and has provided a food bank and other services to help local families and the homeless.

Robbie added, “The support we have received from our amazing Rydal Gym members has been amazing. I am so lucky to have such nice – helpful people in our Palace of Positivity.

“I can’t thank Joe and Lee and all the nice people who have already donated enough.”

To support fundraising go here

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