In a Class of Their Own: Toronto Boxing Academy
Many of Toronto Boxing Academy’s patrons have walked through their doors with a similar goal; but all have emerged from the gym with a victory much greater.
Brock Arthur’s journey with boxing began with a simple love for the sport. He enjoyed the thrill of training and competing, while continuing to build lifelong skills. But what stood out to Brock was the feeling that overcame him when faced with an opponent: that no matter who was in his corner cheering him on, in the end it is up to him to put on his gloves and get the job done.
This philosophy extended beyond the sport and became ingrained in him as a way to navigate the challenges that life often brings, but after suffering the loss of his mom, Brock was faced with an incomparable challenge of learning to cope. It was through this process that he was able to see the importance of having an outlet and the influence it can have on one’s mental wellbeing. Brock knew that pursuing a passion as a career had its own risks, but he was prepared to go toe to toe with that. It was this vision that transformed his love for boxing into his livelihood.
The story begins in 2008, when Brock opened the doors of his first gym, Durham Boxing Academy. Brock wanted to evolve the conventional understandings of a gym to encourage people to see it through his eyes – not as a place dedicated solely to physical fitness, but a space in which you’re meant to progress in every sense possible. Durham Boxing Academy held a special place in Brock’s heart not only because it was his first gym, but also because it was where he met his partner, Sarah Lo. With their shared loved for boxing, Brock and Sarah took the experience that Durham Boxing Academy gave them and used it to lay the foundation of Toronto Boxing Academy together.
Toronto Boxing Academy’s (TBA) distinguishing quality from other gyms is their commitment to building an all-around champion. Their mission is to have their members expand their goals past physical fitness, to build discipline and determination, and to boldly take on the challenges of personal growth.
After 12 years of building their business, Brock and Sarah were faced with a worldwide pandemic and the difficult decision on how they would pivot to keep the business afloat. The fitness industry became one of the sectors hit hardest by COVID closures and restrictions and was coming to a standstill. Driven by an instinct for survival, the TBA team dedicated their resources to creating opportunities for their members to continue their journeys uninterrupted. They made a determined shift to online resources, offering guided training, meal plans and recipes, and an online storefront with equipment and health products, all in efforts to promote their clients’ continued wellness. During a time of isolation and uncertainty, it was crucial to Brock and Sarah to remain a resource to those who may be struggling.
“A boxing workout is unmatched. You will grow in confidence, you will push your boundaries physically and mentally, and you will push yourself further than you thought you were capable.”
“A boxing workout is unmatched. You will grow in confidence, you will push your boundaries physically and mentally, and you will push yourself further than you thought you were capable.” TBA opens up the opportunity for their community to discover this within themselves, promoting a safe atmosphere for people to reshape their perspective; an atmosphere in which you surpass expectations of your own abilities and realize the greatness within.
Brock and Sarah engage with their community in meaningful ways; running workshops with schools, volunteering within organizations to deliver boxing programs, hosting fundraisers like live boxing shows and exhibitions, as well as hosting pay-per-view events at their gym. These community-based events allow TBA to take the safe space they’ve built in the confines of their business and widen it to include the greater community, whether they are clients or not.
Brock and Sarah’s efforts have instilled a great deal of confidence in their services, and this is evident in the way their members have expressed their appreciation. Among their own accolades as competitors, their gym has won the Top Choice Award for Top Boxing School in Toronto multiple times, as well as numerous reader’s choice awards for Best Bootcamp, Best Martial Arts Club, Best Fitness Instruction, and Personal Training. In the words of Sarah and Brock, “None of these awards would have been possible without members voting and giving their feedback on their experience at the gym.”
“None of these awards would have been possible without members voting and giving their feedback on their experience at the gym.”
Within minutes of meeting Brock and Sarah, you come to realize that their warm energy and friendliness plays a huge role in knocking out the intimidation of a boxing gym and keeping their clients driven toward their personal goals. The passion behind the approach they take to their training is captivating, leaving every member feeling like a champion.
“Don’t be too intimidated to walk through the door. We hear all the time, that people wished and wanted to get started sooner. The reason they didn’t is they had some preconceived notion of what a boxing club was like that initially prevented them from coming through the door. It doesn’t matter what your end goal is, boxing is for everybody! Find a gym and get started, everybody in there is working toward an improved version of themself.”
– Toronto Boxing Academy