The suburbs of Kansas City, MO, might not seem like a hotbed for boxing, but it is—at least boxing of sorts. Overland Park, KS, a suburb just across the state line, is where Title Boxing Club began, spreading quickly to other suburbs and eventually opening in other states, including Missouri, Texas, Ohio and Illinois.
Danny Campbell, a former professional fighter, professional trainer, world-class referee, ring announcer for HBO and promoter, had tired of the boxing business, calling it “seedy,” when he decided to pursue the general manager’s position at an LA Boxing facility in Littleton, CO. In 2008, he returned home to the Kansas City area and started his own boxing club, along with Tom Lyons, David Hanson and Tony Carbajo. Hanson and Carbajo are owners of Title Boxing LLC, the boxing, kickboxing and mixed martial arts (MMA) equipment company that also is headquartered in the Kansas City area. Later that year, the group opened a second club and then a third in 2009. By 2010, the success of those three clubs led the team to begin franchising.
Today, the company has 30 clubs open and another 215 franchises sold with 165 of those in development, Campbell says. Locations have been sold in 22 states and are expected to open this year in Arizona, California, Florida, Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The first facility in Canada is expected to open by the end of the year. Campbell expects to have 400 to 500 franchises sold by the end of this year and 1,000 sold in the next three years. All of those clubs are expected to open within three years of the agreements being signed, Campbell says.
Part of the company’s success stems from its partnership with Title Boxing LLC, he says.
“When one of our franchisees wants something, it is delivered overnight to them,” Campbell says, noting that the fast turnaround is because the equipment already has the Title name on it and does not have to be specially branded like it does for other boxing franchises. “I didn’t realize the leverage I was getting when I went with them. I was going after the name of Title Boxing Club. I didn’t have any idea at the time of how powerful that would be.”
The equipment company also got something from the arrangement. Prior to the clubs taking off, Title’s equipment was geared toward men. However, the company has since found a new niche in making equipment geared toward women, including making pink boxing gloves.
That attention to what women want is part of what has helped grow the company, Campbell says. Title Boxing Club stays away from MMA-type classes, such as jiu jitzu and muay thai, although at one point it did try putting a cage in the first club.
“We used to have a cage in this corner,” Campbell says, pointing to his right. “You had these guys walking around with shirts off, blowing snot on the walls. The other people were business people. So, we got rid of that.”
His target market is professional women (although men are also members), and women do not want to wrestle and do bear crawls, he says. They don’t even want to do traditional boxing per se.
“We’re not about getting in there and getting hit,” Campbell says. “One of our mottos is ‘get fit, not hit.’”
Instead, trainers at his clubs teach boxing techniques, and the classes allow women to do what they really want: warm up and hit the bag.
“That’s what’s fun—hitting something,” Campbell says.