TONY JEFFRIES finished boxing in 2011. His fighting career came to an end in Doncaster, an eight round points win. It was his tenth and last bout. But if the Olympic bronze medallist’s active career ended in disappointing fashion, no one could have envisaged his second life as a business tycoon in Los Angeles.
He runs Box ‘N Burn, an award-winning gym in LA. Its success has seen him open a second facility. Boxing training is increasingly popular and in Los Angeles it’s becoming part of the lifestyle. “With boxing you can see your progression through each session, so you’re always getting better,” he said. “When you first start, every time you go you learn a new punch or a new slip. You get better every time.”
Starting up however was a risk. “I had money left from boxing and I put that money into a gym,” he told Boxing News. “I’m blessed to be doing what I love. I wake up every day, can’t wait to get to work.”
“We were going to open a gym with Mickey Rourke,” he continued. “So there were going to be three of us involved. He was doing a movie and while he was doing a movie we [Jeffries and Kevan Watson] found a location and from doing the movie, when it was time for him to hand his money over, I invested my money that I made from boxing into the gym and when it was time for him to hand money over to pay us back, he changed the agreement that we had. But by this time we were up and running and [I said] no we’re good. We went our separate ways from Mickey which was the best thing which could have ever happened.”
The second gym was another risk. “It was always risky because the rent on the other space, it’s nearly 20 grand a month, so it’s really risky to do this. The first gym was that packed, we couldn’t fit anyone else in, so it was a risky decision but we did it. Now it’s kind of paid off. The goal is to open another gym, in West Hollywood, so we want to have three gyms in West Hollywood,” he said.
His next venture was to set up a training course for personal trainers. “Our education programme, that’s another thing that’s just took off. If you get an idea for something that you’re passionate about and you go ahead and you do it, you’re going to be successful. Or if you’re not successful you’re going to have a lot of fun doing it. I had an idea; I saw all these trainers trying to teach boxing in parks and that, they don’t know what they’re doing. They’re going to injure their clients. I thought why don’t we show them how to teach boxing and then built a curriculum, announced it and then it sold out. Now just over a year later we’ve certified nearly 300 trainers. It’s mad, people are flying in from England, from Australia, from Canada, from around the world to do this course. I can’t believe it, it’s ridiculous. Unbelievable,” he explained.
“Before we teach them how to teach boxing, we teach them how to box. The basic fundamentals of boxing, everything from transferring your weight, throwing the correct punches, breathing and all this stuff. We’re teaching them to hold the pads, do a boxing specific warm up, wrap hands, that sort of thing.“
He has more general advice too. “I feel like I’m a very smart businessman,” he mused. “When I made money from boxing, what I did I put a deposit down on a house and I bought a house… I own five houses in England from 10 pro fights, that’s really good. They’ve got tenants and they’re paying for themselves. By the time I’m 40 those five houses will be paid for. This is advice I try and give boxers. I do a podcast called the Box ‘N Life podcast, I try and give this advice out to boxers. Invest your money wisely. Pay your taxes and do it right. With boxers, we’re not used to money. We’re not used to having money and getting money, when we get 20 grand or whatever it is for a fight, and you’ve got to pay five grand of it to a tax man, [they think] I’m not giving that money to the taxman. They fall behind. It’s a totally different route what we’re talking about.”
He feels the results of his ventures, after his active boxing career was over, are at heart due to enthusiasm. “We never went into it to make money. I feel like if you go into a business just to try and make money, and are not passionate about it, you’re not going to successful,” he said. “Because we were passionate about doing this, that’s why we’ve been successful. And the money’s coming now.”