Following last weekend's world title action, we have updated our professional boxing world champions list. The main movers last weekend were Scotland's Ricky Burns who captured the WBA (Regular) world super-lightweight title by stopping Italian Michelle Di Rocco, and also Liverpool's Tony Bellew - who won the WBC crusierweight title by knocking out Illunga Makabu at Goodison Park in front…
Ex Boxer Tony Jeffries Talks His Career, US Move And More
We recently caught up with Tony Jeffries, the man who says retiring from boxing is the best thing that ever happened to him.
Moving to the US proved a great move
Big things were expected of Tony Jeffries when he won Bronze at the 2008 Olympics, but after 10 professional fights it was all over. Hand injuries meant Tony could no longer box and due to this Tony went through a very dark time in his life:
”I was devastated, my world crumbled. I got fat and depressed, it was a dark time in my life. I didn’t know what to do, I had nothing to fall back on, I left school with nothing and back then I thought because of that I was stuck.”
Uncertainty followed and many people where surprised when they heard Tony was opening a gym in California. The gym started off in modest surroundings on the Santa Monica beach, a far cry from the wind and rain in Sunderland.
Tony told me how it all began:
”We started on the beach in Santa Monica doing boot camps for donations only, it grew fast and we opened our 1st gym in Santa Monica in December 2012, doing boxing fitness classes. Box ‘N Burn is a company created by me and my business partner Kevin Watson. We grew so fast after just 18 months we opened a second location in Brentwood LA, which is a very desirable area in West LA. This gym like the 1st one has blew up very fast. We recently got named number 1 gym in California by Mens Fitness & Yelp.”
Things are going well for Tony and it sounds like he’s really enjoying life Stateside. When most athlete’s retire they miss their sport, the training, the competition but speaking with Tony, he’s says that’s not the case for him:
“Life is better than ever in LA, it’s like I live on a none-stop holiday, my job is amazing. I get excited every day about walking into work. Retiring was the best thing I ever did, I never want to get punched in the face ever again.”
Fond memories of fighting and where he’s at today
Tony was catapulted onto the boxing main stage when he won Bronze at the 2008 Olympic games in Beijing. This is a time that Tony describes as the best in his life:
“This was the best part of my life, I got put on a 8 year training program as a 16 year old in 2000 for the 2008 Olympics, so to go through all that, qualify and then come back with a medal was amazing.”
Since moving to America Tony has kept himself busy with a number of different ventures, from music videos to training top UFC fighters. Tony has been training Brendan Schaub, a top UFC fighter who Tony describes as his best friend.
He told me how he got involved with Brendan:
“Three years ago Brendan’s manager called me out of the blue one day and asked if I would work with him. I didn’t know who he was or really know anything about MMA. But when he came in we hit it off straight away. We have been best friends ever since, I don’t and won’t work with anymore fighters, it’s not something I’m passionate about.”
Tony has dabbled in acting and its something that really interests him but his gym Box ‘N Burn is his main focus:
“I recently was acting in a Skylar Grey music video, she is a good friend and asked for the favour. Also there is another big gig in the pipeline that I can’t talk about just yet, but if this comes off it will be amazing. I don’t go looking for acting gigs, as my number 1 focus is Box ‘N Burn – but if they come along then great”.
Tony may be retired, but he still keeps his finger on the plus when it comes to boxing. He gave me his opinion on Floyd Mayweather’s retirement and the British boxing scene. When it comes to Mayweather this is what Tony had to say:
“The name of the game is hit and not get hit and that’s what he has done and made a s**t ton of cash, so yes I’m a fan. I think he may come back because he loves the limelight and without boxing and the All Access shows its not going to be the same.
Current UK boxing landscape
On the British boxing scene, Tony went on to talk at length on where he sees it currently:
“I think the hype around Anthony Joshua is great and he is starting to build a real reputation he is the new face, Tyson Fury can win this world title which will be huge , James DeGale is smashing it. I would like to see David Price fight Derick Chisora to get his career back on track , James DeGale fight Badou Jack and Andre Ward.
I would love to see Kal Yafia win a world title. British boxing is great , my favourite fighters are Kal Yafia , Frankie gavin , James DeGale , Stephen Smith and the smith brothers, David price , Billy Joe Saunders , Bradley Saunders & Brian Rose.”
Box ‘N Life and living in America
Tony is keeping busy over in America and it sounds like his gym’s are really flourishing. Tony has also started his own podcast called ‘Box ‘N Life’. After listening to the podcast I must say I am a big fan. Tony has also began to teach trainers how they can teach boxing something Tony is really passionate about:
“There’s so much happening, we’ve stared a certification course where we teach trainers how to teach boxing, we had our first event last week and it went amazing. I have been putting a lot of time in to that, the thing I know best in life is boxing it’s so easy for me to teach it to anyone because I competed for 17 years so I get it. I have taught boxing to over 4000 different people in the last 4 years. My Box ‘N Life podcast is going great, its a hobby for me but people are loving it and getting on some great guests.”
One thing Tony is struggling to keep up with over in LA is the Premier League and his beloved Sunderland AFC due to the time difference. Tony isn’t surprised how Sunderland’s season is going and said it wouldn’t be the same without the drama:
“I have not watched much with the time difference and the amount of work I have been doing over here, but what I have seen, its the same old story like every season. SAFC wouldn’t be SAFC without some drama, shocks and scares.”
Tony hasn’t looked back since he retired and by the sounds of it he is loving life over in America from his gym, to his Podcast, to his acting work, it seems like Tony Jeffries is loving life.
We are used to hearing of fighters retiring and getting involved in some bad things like drugs and alcohol, well, I must say it’s refreshing to hear how well Tony Jeffries is getting on.