Trainer & Suzi Wong Photographer
Henry is a trainer and avid photographer. He has gone on to shoot many times for Suzi Wong in New York inside and outside the Mendez gym. He has the cutest puppy Koto and his wife Sarah is an amateur boxer.
Mendez Gym, NYC
We met Henry Deleon by chance. We were in New York for the Linares v Cano fight and at the weigh-in, I got a tap on my shoulder, are you ‘Suzi Wong’ it was the start of a great friendship. Henry gave me a Jorge Linares t-shirt his wife Sarah had purchased for him off the website and asked me to get Jorge to sign it. Over the “post weight-in, pasta and steak meal”, I got Jorge to sign his shirt.
Linares had been training at the Mendez gym, that Henry works out of, whilst in the city. I was lucky enough to go to the Mendez to watch Jorge work out and let me tell you, this gym is HOT. Set off a busy street, the reception is small, you go back and climb down a set of narrow concrete steps to enter. It’s an amazing experience, the heat hits you, you look around two full size rings, various coaches training people, boxing bags hanging everywhere.
The Legendary Mendez Boxing Gym has become a great source of training pictures that Henry has taken for us of various fighters and characters entering the gym, willing to wear our product for a shoot.
I sent Henry a text and told him I had the t-shirt signed and he met me and gave me one of the Mendez Gym t-shirts as a gift.
The fight didn’t go Jorge’s way, a shock defeat to Cano and we left New York with our heads low, but a smile knowing we had made a great friend.
Henry Deleon’s Boxing Photography
Henry Deleon Interview
Below we catch up with Henry to find out a little bit about him:
Where you are from?
My parents are from Mexico, but I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York
Inspiration in life and boxing?
Funny enough, it was actually watching the “Rocky” movies that inspired me to get into Boxing. Just watching how he overcame adversity by working hard and literally fighting through it all with nothing but his two hands was admirable. It was heroic and what kid at the age of like 7 wouldn’t wish to be a superhero. Rocky in my eyes was a superhero, but not in a superman/batman kind of way, but in a more relatable way. He was a normal guy doing things the average person wouldn’t do. Even just watching how the crowd all cheered and yelled “Rocky! Rocky! Rocky!” definitely had me, at that age fantasizing with the thought of it being me one day that people cheered for. I wanted all of that.
Fast forward to today, I am now a boxing instructor/coach. I work together with my coach, Moises Sanchez, as his second. Together we have quite the stable of female fighters who are pretty baddass. Among them is my wife, who I’ve been leading as her head coach. And basically, what inspires me now is that I just want them to be the best they can be. Forget about winning or losing fights (obviously we always fight to win) I want them to be able to attain a level of confidence and skill in where they are able to handle themselves no matter the obstacle. Keeping that same level of confidence when things aren’t going their way so they can learn to dig deep when the time calls for it. Teaching them that they are not average, they’re beyond it.
Age you started Boxing?
I was 15 the first time I stepped into a Boxing Gym. I remember being so overwhelmed by everyone there and how hard the workout was. Then on the third day I was like “nah, forget this, this isn’t for me” and didn’t go back. But even after that I always knew in my heart that it was something I really wanted to do. So, it really wasn’t until I was 17, going on 18 that I decided to fully commit myself to the sport. Fast forward to today, it’s been the best decision I’ve ever made. Only regret was not sticking to it sooner.
Did you box amateur and for which club?
I competed as an amateur fighter. Fought in numerous tournaments, including the historic Daily News Golden Gloves back in 2016 in where I made it to the semi-finals and was awarded “boxer of the night”. Not bad for someone who at the age of 15 ran away scared huh?
As an amateur fighter, I represented the Mendez Boxing club in NYC. who over the years I’ve come to consider a part of my family.
Where do you train now?
I’m still at the Mendez Boxing Club. I’ve been with these guys for nearly a decade now.
Who do you train?
I train people from all over. From average joes to celebrities. From people who want to learn the sweet science, to people who just want to have fun with it and get a good workout in, one of the beautiful things about Boxing training is that it attracts people from all walks of lives.
A turkey burger with fries and a diet coke! Haha! I don’t really have a favorite combo, simply because as a fighter you learn that you can’t fight everyone the same. What might work with this person might not work with that person. It’s all about knowing how to adapt to each person in front of you. Though my favorite shot is the left hook to the body so any combo that can help set that up for me is going to be my favorite combination!
Best part of being a trainer?
For me the best part of being a trainer would have to be when your fighter or whoever it is your training overcomes an obstacle that they once thought was uncomfortable or scary. Watching them gain and develop that confidence is a reward on its own because my whole thing has always been “being above average”. Most people give in to fear or turn away when things get uncomfortable instead of challenging themselves to face it and eventually overcome it.
Achievements to date?
My biggest achievement to date would have to be the day I forced myself to give boxing another try. Simply because everything I managed to accomplish after that has been because of boxing. All the people I’ve met, all the opportunities I’ve come across is because of Boxing. Had it not been for giving it another go, I don’t know where I’d be in life right now. So that would have to be my biggest accomplishment, not giving up on this sport.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Had you asked me this a few years ago I would have told you “Champion of the world” haha. It’s funny how much things have changed over time.
In 5 years, I see myself ringside photographing major events. Photography is a passion that I’ve come to discover because of boxing. I’ve been doing boxing photography for 2 years now. In those two years, I’ve already managed to experience shooting ringside twice already, one of those times being for a major event Tyson Fury vs Otto Wallin. So, I know it in my heart that I’ll be doing that a lot more in the near future.
What do you love about Suzi Wong?
Their fight outfits! They come up with the most insane designs. The quality of their work is top notch! The creativity in their designs is beautiful. Their LGND brand is definitely my favorite. You feel like such a badass walking in their brand. Sweaters and Sweat suits are of such amazing quality.
It’s like the saying goes “if you look good, you feel good, you perform good” and they sure know how to make their fighters look good!
Favorite place to shoot?
As a photographer, I would have to say ringside at professional events. There’s a bit of an adrenaline rush that comes to play when shooting ringside. It’s a bit nerve racking but at the same time exciting.
People/fighters you have shot?
I’ve shot a lot of amateur fighters, as far as pro fighters go I’ve shot Jorge Linares, Tevin farmer, Otto Wallin, Amir Khan, and a few others. Working at a boxing gym has its perks I guess when it comes to shooting fighters.
Favorite fighter past/present?
My favorite fighter has always been Miguel Cotto. I always appreciated how quiet and respectful in the lead up to the fights he was and when it came to fighting he was a total killer in the ring. Not to mention the beautiful left hook to the body that he had!
As I became more involved with the sport I came to discover Jorge Linares whose style of fighting was mind blowing! Fast, technically sound, accurate, his level of ring IQ was phenomenal. I would stay up watching a bunch of training and sparring videos on YouTube, old fights, everything I could find on him. The next day in the gym I would come in and try to mimic and practice certain moves that I would see him do.
Tyson or AJ?
Tyson fury all the way! And the reason I say Tyson fury is because his level of “mental toughness” is beyond any of the other heavy weights. That man has gone toe to toe with the division’s top killers, and has proved time and time again that he is beyond all of them. To have stopped the division’s most feared man, Deontay Wilder, in the fashion that he did just proved that he is the #1 heavy weight. In my opinion, I don’t think AJ has that mental toughness, Tyson Fury would make AJ crumble first physiologically and then physically.