As the story has it, one day I headed to the opposite side of the globe – the Flipside. I arrived in Korea February 16th, 2005 and thought I’d do a year, then leave. I was wrong. I stayed, launched my first company, Flipside Fitness, and then opened Korea's largest boxing club, Hulk's Boxing (now called Hulk's Club).

After 11.5yrs in Korea, I then picked up one day and returned to Toronto, Canada. But then I left again.

Now I live in the Philippines where I am the CEO and head coach of Empowered Clubhouse, the Philippines' first and only boxing clubhouse exclusively just for women. I also am the founder of the Lil' Sistas Project, CEO and designer of Slay Gear and Baa Baa Black Sheep .Ph.

Monday, May 07, 2018

Support Your Local Fighters... Monday, May 7

A minimum wage Filipino worker here makes about 13,000Php ($325Cdn) a month.
The standard rate for a Filipino pro fighter fighting here is 1,000Php ($37Cdn) a round.

For a four round professional bout, 4,000Php ($100Cdn), they make just enough money to pay for their training. It costs me 2,000Php a month to train at Team Insider (which is the lowest I've ever paid -- most clubs offer unlimited monthly rates of 4,000-5,000Php).  However, everyday I do padwork with my coach so I then tip him on my way out the door. My tip ranges from 100Php to 150Php. And then I also pay to spar.

I estimate that with my membership, tips and sparring fees, my training costs 6,400Php a month.

Now I know some of these fees and sometimes even the membership is waved or lowered for particular active boxers, because the life of a boxer IS hard.  Life in the Philippines is pretty cheap considering but at 1,000Php a round, these fighters aren't even making enough to sustain themselves. They're not even breaking even and often more than not some of these pro fighters are actually shilling money out of their own pockets to pay to fight.

That, what I just wrote there, was the background nitty gritty details to the caption I actually posted on Instagram under the picture of me and my new friend at the boxing club.

Here's what I actually posted under the picture on Instagram...
My famous last words the first time we met were, "if you go there again, I'm going to punch you in the crotch!" 
Yup, I said that to a total stranger. 
I guess he took me seriously because today he showed up at Team Insider for training! Holy props to him! The other day we got into a discussion about boxing and I argued that if you were honestly looking to learn how to box, then go train with someone who has actually stepped into the ring. Someone who has made it their life and lives for the sport. Even if you never want to have an actual bout, be respectable towards the sport and those who have made it their livelihood.  
I'm not hating on gyms that host boxercise-style classes because they serve their own purpose and it really comes down to different strokes for different folks. But if you're looking to actually learn how to box, go to a boxing club.  
This is a pretty sensitive issue for me because I know first-hand just how hard boxing coaches here work and the low money they make that really doesn't match the ring experience and skills they bring to their clients. Moreover I know what it means to be a professional fighter here.  
My heart broke the other day when I found out just how low the standard rate per round is for a professional fight in this country. They train so intensely for their bout but the fight purse money basically just covers their training. They are starving athletes, literally, but they do it because they love the sport. It's this passion for the sport that really separates them and it's these fighters, fighters who are training and coaching at the boxing clubs, that really need the extra support. 
Today I was pretty proud my new friend showed up to train at Team Insider not only because it showed me he wasn't going to back down from my challenge but because it gave him a chance to really gain a new perspective on us fighters and the gruelling training not only we go through but also our coaches. 
Boxing is hard enough, let's not make it even harder. Support your local fighters. Join a boxing club.
So now the question is, how can you support your local fighters?
  • If you want to learn boxing, join a boxing club.  That's where many of the pro fighters are employed as coaches.  
  • Next, tip your coaches.  The job of a coach is very physically demanding.  Don't believe me, trying holding the pads for a couple of rounds while someone hits them.
  • Buy tickets for the live fights and go cheer on the fighters.  You just being there helps to fill up the seats and helps the popularity of boxing to stay alive, not to mention it's rough and discouraging as a fighter to fight in front of a bare crowd.
  • If you're a business, sponsor a fighter or kick it up a notch and sponsor a club.  Sponsoring a fighter or even a club doesn't have to mean financially supporting them, it could be supplying them with a product or service that your company has.  For example, I use to be sponsored by Adidas France.  They use to send me free boxing gear and, well, what boxer doesn't need gear?!  Exactly.  We go through gear like it's nobody's business.  I also used to be sponsored by Supreme Diet and that was awesome because what athlete doesn't need food and they were a food delivery company that use to send me my meals everyday.  
  • Next, more often than not a professional fighter and a boxing club sells promo t-shirts and other swag with their names on it, like mini boxing gloves and hats.  Purchase one and then wear it.  You wearing their item may mean little to nothing to you but it's advertising for them, it helps get their name out there, plus it puts a little financial help in their pocket.  
  • If you're a boxing club or gym owner offering boxing classes, hire pro fighters or former professional fighters.  They're someone who has dedicated their career to the sport, is passionate about it and brings experience to your facility.  

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