George Foreman III can’t promise he can transform you from video game tomato can Glass Joe to Philly boxing icon Smokin’ Joe Frazier; however, the son of the legendary heavyweight champion and creator of Philly’s newest pugilism playground EverybodyFights vows to create a boxing experience suitable for both world champions and those who’ve never thrown a jab.
EBF, which officially opens its first Philly location Feb. 1 in Rittenhouse, is a 12,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art boxing mecca which mixes old-school boxing gym authenticity with swanky luxury reserved for high-end fitness boutiques.
Its dark, underground fight-clubish décor will feature a full-size boxing ring, a 60-person boxing classroom as well as similar-sized circuit-training and treadmill classrooms. In addition, there’s a free-weight gym area, two full-service locker rooms, two steam rooms, topped with a post-workout juice bar.
Inclusiveness for all skill levels was one of Foreman’s objectives when he launched his first EBF, in Boston: a club attractive for fitness enthusiasts and real enough for any hardcore fighter.
“There’s not one class on my schedule that first-timers aren’t welcome,” Foreman says. “Our first commitment is to make sure people feel comfortable taking it at their own pace but also excited that they did it and be like, ‘OK, next time I’m gonna come and I’m gonna do one percent better.”
Be warned, that’s where Foreman’s hospitality ends and the (good) hurt begins. After the first of 12 heart-pounding rounds of EBF’s Train360 class (one of dozens of classes offered) you’ll be reminded why boxing remain a popular workout. You’ll burn fat, build muscle — even enhance your self-defense skills as you’re punching both heavy and uppercut bags, while working battle ropes, rowing machines plus other equipment.
And yes, there’s burpees, those pushup-to-jump juggernauts that take out the best, even world champions like Andre Ward.
“I had to modify my burpees,” the former super-middleweight champion admitted. “I’m not proud of that, but I’m the old retired guy.”
Still, the boxing and circuit training combo made Ward a fan of EBF.
“I like what George and his team came up with,” Ward said. “And the beautiful thing is that you’re not in class for an hour or two, so you can get you out of there and get on with your day.”
George Foreman III philosophy for EBF
George Foreman III has seen boxing from different viewpoints: an overweight son who used the sweet science as a method to lose close to 40 pounds, as well as the pro fighter who went 16-0. He learned the ropes from his famous father, who offered to train him under the condition the younger Foreman would help trainer fellow boxers at the time. “Long story short, it ended up being a father-son hobby that got out of control.”
It also became the precursor for the EBF workout philosophy.
“Every piece of a boxer’s training camp is separated into specific classes,” says Foreman. “One day you’ll come for your training, then bag work, shadowboxing. When you put it all together, you’re doing an authentic boxing training camp, and you’re coming to the gym five to six days a week.”