Average to Savage
Average to Savage

Episode · 6 months ago

Tommy Duquette | Average to Savage EP170


This is the one hundred and seventh episode of the Average to Savage podcast featuring entrepreneur Tommy Duquette. Paul Guarino talked with Tommy Duquette discussing how he got into boxing, entrepreneurship, and the company he co-founded Fight Camp.  

Follow Tommy Duquette https://twitter.com/TommyDuquette1 

This podcast interview with Tommy Duquette was originally recorded on April 27, 2021

This is the average to savage podcast with Paul Greno everyone in anyone, athletes, swebs and much more. What's up everybody? Welcome back to another episode of the average savage podcast. Or special guest today is Tommy do cat. Tommy, how's it going? What's going on? And thank you so much for having me. Yeah, you appreciate you coming on. I know we've been connected for a while and I wanted to definitely get you on because I know other things you've been doing so much. Just jump right into it. Just what was your I know you grew up in Massachusetts, right. Yeah, yeah, I grew up in boughts, great bouts an area, Cambridge, bolt in that whole area. And then, yeah, tell me a little bit about like your upbringing and how you got into boxing. Not for sure. Yeah, so I grew up in the projects in Cambridge into a certain age and I moved to Wallfam in, you know, with the high school and Middle School Waltam, and it's, as far as boxing's concerned, something that ever since I was a little like I was all you drawn to it. Movies, right, fight, stuff like that, and it's actually something that, when you go back from my ancestry. It's in my what. So you go back to my grandfather was in the wingroomrofessional boxing champions. His father before him, all the way back in the the S, was a professional boxer as well. He raised all his kids to fight, but you know, that kind of skipped a generation somehow carried over to me. My grandfather's my mother's father died when my mother was really young and so I never met him, but I just always, you know, I saw some of the pictures and the memorabilia and always heard these stories and you know, that sort of was like my subtle pushed towards box thing. And my actual first day in a boxing gym is a whole nother story I'm happy to get into here. Just you gotta tell me now. Yeah, all right, cool. So this is yeah, this is definitely you need box service. So or maybe not. So I have an older cousin, about a year and a half older, which when you're a little you know that's that's seems like a lot right, and he was back in the day in the streets. He's you can you know, you get a lot of fights and he could throw down right. So I grew up always watching him fight, you know, and always winning to use the menace right and by the time he got into high school I was want to be younger. I thought I was still in eighth grade. He was getting so much wrongle with that. The teacher like what do we do with this kid? And they found this boxing gym called Boston boxing in in awesome bright and still there Boston boxing, and they sent him there. So they connect with the coach. We got this kid, you know, he needs to take up some aggression of the gym. So they sent them there and I went with them and first time I ever went, like I remember, you know, Donald, the boss one of the boxing gym. You don't use me sick like I'm going to watch a fight. I going to watch people box each other, like I'm gonna Watch my cousin boxing. Someone and anybody even know boxing and knows these old school jims those. If you walk in there it's your first day, you think you're going to actually box, like these guys will laughing. You know, I get that out of my gym. So we go in there, I'll confident, you know already from the box and the coach just like literally is like who are you? What are you doing. I came to watch. He's like no, he's like, you can leave where you can put it. You grab a jumper. That was it, my first day in the gym. Will work out and you know, pretty much been a part of my life ever since I I competed until the age of twenty six and the amateurs and had over a hundred thirty fights. And Yeah, but I haven't fought in a grip right. And Yeah, for sure why I see you all your posting. You're in crazy shape. And Yeah, that's didn't tell me a little bit about you're on t Musa. Tell me about a little bit about that experience. Yeah, so I was first time I crank the top ten rankings was in two thousand and eight. You know, went...

...out there and find a national tournament and you know some calories of my weight class that year. May you think back? Yeah, guys like obviously Jamal hiring, you know, Jose a Benevita's right, David Benevita's brother. Before David was even a thing, his brother Jose was just a monster. The amateurs running through everybody, and Frankie Goman's another great fighter who, you know, undefeated prospect who just gave it up for whatever reason. I don't know if you remember his name. When he's first coming up, he's training with Freddie Roach and he just you know, he missed weight one fight and then he kind of just disappeared from the scene. Was a tragedy. But man, that way class that year. I'm even names out. It's that. Yeah, yeah, so what. So tell me, like what is it? That like? What is the I guess what's The difference? When, like, some people go prone than some people just like stop. Then it's all about your desire and your will. And what I would say about boxing is like you don't have that desired, dangerous. Even if you have it, it's dangerous, obviously it, but especially if you go up in levels or you're fighting the pros and small gloves, no headgear, like this is life in death right. And even if it's not, like you know, but you know, God forbid something like that happens, some tragic like that happens. It's rare. But what's not rare is taken a ton of abuse over the years and having that build up to the point where you you're fifty years old, when most people are enjoying their lives and traveling everything else if you have the brain of you know, eighty or ninety year old right. Um, so that decision isn't for everybody. When I was young then I thought it was for me because I got in this boxing gym in you know, week goes by, two weeks, one moment of people over then how long you've been boxing, like living box for years. It's just something. I was never that good at anything. Instantly is I was at box. No other sports right but right away, probably because it's literally in my DNA, I got throw a hook. Wow, make annise, how hell is this little kid doing? No, you never learned. So I was. I was fortunate that boxing and I thought, like every kid, I wanted to be a professional athlet. Every kid was being professional. But as I matured I grew up like very humbly, no money, single parent, household, welfare, foods and all that stuff, and I knew I didn't want that for myself. And you know, boxing is it's definitely you know, there's money to be made, but only at very, very highest level, at the top. And it's not that I didn't believe in myself and think that I could do that, but as just always really interested in entrepreneurship and business and I looked at these two different games and I said this is a game boxing that I could do until maybe I'm like thirty five or something like that. You know, sometimes people are extending it down to their s or whatever, but it's not going to be risk for you. Even if you do make it to the top you make a ton of money, you're taking some risk, but maybe you don't. I know plenty of talented fighters that that I used to, you know, be in the circle with everything else, that they didn't make a lot of money and they're really, really, really good. So I worked at that option. Also looked at the option of business world, which is something that if I didn't scratch that Itch, like I wouldn't regret it right if I didn't go down that path, and I said this is a game I can play, you know, the rest of my life. It doesn't cause a lot of to a bottom of damage and I don't have to retire at the age of thirty five. I can just continue to do it and challenge myself and somewhere around, you know, eat it up to the Olympic trials in two thousand and twelve. I said to myself that I'll be happy just chasing down this as far as I can do it. If I become an Olympian, that's great, that's a dream come true, right when a metal or anything like that? If I don't,...

...you know, if I can, if I if I could test for that, whatever, whatever I'm able to do, I'm going to be happy with that and then I'm going to move on from there. So I knew, you know, couple of years leading into that, that I was no longer going to do it. It's been hard to not do it over the years. I've wanted to, but I just didn't think it was the best for me. Yeah, that's right. You know, I totally get it. And for those that don't know, in other countries to when you usually rise up in the amateur cares sometimes you're almost like set for life. So that's why those guys don't go pro also. Yeah, I don't that isn't really happen in America right. Not Traditionally. No, I'm traditionally that amateur career is kind of like your college. That's the way I described to people. Is like, all right, did you go to the local community call whatever for a year or two, which is great. I do that, but that's like maybe, you know, you find your local golden gloves. Did you make it to that national level? Did you get ranked in the top ten? Did you win any of these tournaments? That's when you're like in the Ivy League, right, did you win a gold medal, medal in the Olympics? That's the one. You're the Valedictorian of harbord or something like that. Yeah, Oh, yeah, that's the ways before we get into the the business side, since now all this like celebrity boxing and all these all this different stuff is going on. If you have the opportunity, if you got the chance, would you box like a celebrity or like a youtuber or anything like that? Man, it would really depend. Um, like it would depend. Yeah, I wouldn't say no to it. Like what, show me the Chet, you know what I mean? Or like it depends on who they are. If I feel like yeah, I feel like it would be good for the sport. And then maybe even if there's not a check involved. Um, do they want to know we're talking about? We're talking about getting you cashed out? Yeah, yeah, even some. That's how all right. And then, yeah, just going into the business side of things. Like I know you went to you went to where did you go to college? I went to a school, to small private school in Boston called baps in college, and it's interesting. Then, so like in the summers, you know, during when I was in high school, and then when I got out of high school, I didn't go to college right away and then I was going to like a community college actually to start to build up credits and stuff like that. I used to wash windows and I have this older guy who's like in his s and he built up this window cleaning business. You didn't even know how to read him. Right, Barry, right, but he's going to build up this business. Awesome Guy. And it's like a you know, million dollar, multimillion dollars per year account. So super impressive. And he used to tell me we'd be driving through this town that's on the outskirts of Boston. It's like a really high in suburb called wells high end enough to where people would be paying us to clean their windows, right, and we'd be driving through Welleslee we drive by this building he had, like he's like all bad at that raspy boys. He call me flash. He's like Flash. He see that ways with a schools like. He's like that's where all the big shots go, right there. You know, he's to tell me that all the time and that's stuck with me and I did some research on the school. Then it's not like your Harvard or anything else like that. It's more on underground. But when you look at the ALUMNA and the businesses they started and you read about the school, you go there. It's the size of a high school. It's definitely a different experience. If you're going to colle wage for that Party fraternity life experience, you're not going to get it there. Kids wear like a shirt and tied. They don't have to, they just do right. It's very conservative and business focus and everybody there's on their grind and everybody goes from there to until if they don't start a business they go in to like finance or accounting or management consulting and things like that. But this school is...

...especially known for entrepreneurship. It's the only major and if you go there, you study entrepreneurship. You have to HMM, yeah, that's no, I shouldn't. I should have been looking into that when I was at college. Yeah, absolutely drive the yeah, then tell me about like like tell me about like your first business, ventres, and maybe like while you had a job and then you were still side hustling and things like that. Yeah, I mean so while I was in school, stuff like that, and I'll boxing I you know, go in between back and forth to do in the window cleanings, put some money in my pocket. And then eventually I was growing up my client base to a point where I could just teach private clients, which was nice right, especially leading into the Olympic trials. I didn't have to work some part time job or anything like that. I could focus on my training. I Celtic goal, make money train these clients, but it was enough for me to be able to like go to school train and then bringing some dough. I started teaching these heavy bag classes when I was like fourteen years old probably, and my trainer got him at the watches and mean he he started giving me private clients and having me teach these classes. The way to like supplement my income so I could spend more time than gym, so I didn't have to go, you know, work at CBS or whatever else you do at the age of sixteen four. Thus, four hundive, hundred and sixteen. So that's how I started building that. I'd say that was definitely my first like entrepreneurial ventures. Like I'm in school and I'm training and I'm in that I'm trying to figure out ways to make more dope through like referral. I started runting ads on facebook to get more clients and it was generally successful fun. I definitely made a good amount of money for somebody that AIDS, that was doing all that other kind of stuff. While I was in school, the the I got a really big opportunity in my last semester to do this internship with the Fund, a VC Fund, venture capital called highland capital. It was like this academic internships, a group of five of us and there is this dude who was like almost like our like our mentor in the group, but he runs the fund. His name is Bob Davids. She's the founder of like ghost, which was like one of the first ever search engines. Like, Oh gee, I way way back right and I remember. You know, there were a couple other this was like this class where students who get chosen to do these academic internships. There a couple other companies. You know, the big companies whatever, and the people were running these groups. They stood up. No, like all my companies une, my name is is. I did this. This dude stood up. Is Dude Bob Davis. He's like, I raised this much money to do this at this company, like ghost. I took this company public, I did this, I did that. Everybody else that stood up before him suit and tie, you know, business everything else. He had like a t shirt on. In Geez, he's got up like a boss, sat down and everybody in the Rd was like Whoa, and I remember me in my dude. That's that's pretty cool and that you know, that experience of doing that intern shape with hailand capital, which is like a you know, they invest in Tech Company startups. We we call got be really interested in the venture space. YEA, yeah, it's dope. I think that's another cool thing about I just think like, since in the pandemic, I think everyone kind of, I guess, leaned back in terms of like, you know, dress like you have to dress up to be a professional, like you just wear normal clothes and still be professional. Like it's like it's like a funny turn events, but it's also doped. For me, like even like even like this right now, like doing zoom beetings instead of like facetoface like you doesn't always have to be, you know, face face. It's like more convenience sometimes to do so if like over the Internet. Absolutely that. I agree. It's funny because the startup world, you think of the movies, they seem they kind of started this culture of like who cares what you wear? Like, you know, you think of Mark Luckerberg wearing the Hoodie. It's like, I don't need to wear a suit to make a humong. His business right. I mean, don't get me wrong.

Well, you know, a nice sing right when we take fight. Can't public someday, you know, proper bad, I hope, on the for the New York stock he says, I'm not worried to put dressing up. You know, I want to look like, you know, Madman, it's TV show. Have you seen that? Noah, with gon draper, like back in the day, when like they'd sit there, they go to the office New York City, some AD agency and they, you know, be dressed the nines and they'd had be drinking whiskey at work. I wish I was born. Yeah, that would be funny. And now tell me about fight camp. I know you're the the cofounder of it. You've been doing it for over six years now, so and I know I've been. We've been in contact. Just be a social media and everything looks like it's been growing and growing. Yeah, I know, if I camp as it's been amazing. It's been a hell of a ride. It's been growing and growing into the before all that happening like it wasn't, I guess, tough. You know, I joined up with my cofounders back in two thousand and fifteen and at the time, you know, my to cofound is Koreio and Alex. they're from Canada, Montreal, Quebec here, and both engineers and they had created by hand the first ever punch trackers, which, you know, prior to naming renaming under the name fight camp, we're named Hicks. So we created the first ever punch tracking technology. A lot of people copied us. You might see him out there at one point. Ever, last copied us and then they shut it down right other people out there called being us. It's funny. I get pitched by a different depth shop and China every day. Like we have punch trackers we made them. You know that happens in business, though, when you do some rights, it's flattery, right, imitation like that is flattery. So going back, you know, to two thousand and fifteen, we had this like handmade product. And then to get from the point to where there, to where I now was a beast of an effort that we definitely underestimated, because if we knew, they say this a lot about, you know, really hard things, right, whether it's you're trying to be the champion of the world in a sport or you're trying to start a business, if you knew what was ahead of you, you would xpress you on a lot more. The winners, I think, are always overly optimistic. They think they're like whatever, I'm going to get it done. And but as of way, you know, the company's been growing like crazy. We recently raised what's called inventure our series B round. So inventure's usually you start with the seed round, you raise the series a series be goes on from there and the goal is to eventually, for some people it's to sell the company, to exit. For some people's to keep it private. You know, you see, you Al Musk, he just bought twitter and he wants to turn it properly. Right, that's and that's, you know, a cool strategy as well. And then, you know, for a lot of companies, especially in venture where you take adventure capital, it's to take the company public. So that still independently, you know, own company. But yeah, you you put on the pumplic market so that early best investors, employees can get some recudity. Let's dope. And then I know you did some work with Mike Tyson, so tell me about it, that experience, because I can't imagine what that was like for you. Yeah, it's crazy. Yeah, so Mike Tyson actually invested in our series. Be around, along with some other athlete, George St Pierre Francis and God, new usher, Singer USSHER. All right, I'm so. Well, it's Catherine winnike some other people. Right. So, so mike invested his own harder and cash in there, and that like that's an honor right have Mike Tyson believe in your company, in your vision. As part of that, we're also doing a deal with him. We comes in choose Promo with us and I was able to meet him for the first time about...

...six months ago and it was in experienced you, Mike Tyson gets out of the SUV and there's just something different about his presence. President, I that's something like. It almost sounds like you know who do a lot of people, but to me there's something to presence of the way somebody carries himself, a posture. It's like the energy they give off. There's some different but might and you can feel it right away. Um and you know, blow right away when he comes in. The man, Super Nice Guy, really interested in the business. Like you know, walk. We Walk Around the headquarter's asking questions. What is this? What is that? We had specific instructions to have a quate, a watermelon in blueberries. Is What are you got right? What he sees the play full bear hand grabs many blueberry shoves them as well. blueberries. We sat down in an interview, which is crazy, insane. He got up, hit the back a little bit and left and then he came back a second time. Recently we did a little bit longer interviewing. That to me would really special because we just vibe. It was awesome. It was at all of an experience. Yeah, no, that's awesome. Like, let me just work with athletes. Ever since like probably like two thousand and twelve was when I was like I can't be star struck anymore, and then I got to be like professional. But like there's a few athletes that would I definitely be star drugging. Mike Tyson definitely be one of them. Absolutely. Even a couple weeks ago I was at actually one of the Celebrity Boxing Events and Roy Jones junior was there and he walked by me and that was pretty cool just to see like see him in person. He's actually like kind of smaller than I think thought he would be. Honestly, Mike Tyson was small by than I thought he would be. Yeah, he's he's not tall right, like a maybe an inch taller than me. I'm five nine. I know they listened as five of Evan, I think, but I don't. I think he's maybe five hundred and ten. Yeah, but he's big bodies, like a like a refrigerator. You know. I was curious how old is Mikey's he fifteen. Now fifty wants and I was curious to see like Kenny still move right. So we hit the bag in front of me in IT PG man, I'm telling you, it was impressive. Like this man the way he can it still explode at levery gone. His punches in the speed that he as was really impressive. And it's not just a power, it's his ability to put punches together in combinations still, you know for sure. Yeah, he's fifty five, fifty five, so you know he's built right, he's still he's maintained a lot of that fast which most pretty sure. Yeah, I mean even when we saw him fight Roy Jones Junior, I mean he looked better than radjons and shape more than Roy Jones Junior. That some people are able to maintain that's crazy, but that you know, follow boxers and like obviously box from the past, stuff like that. I remember one time I saw I made her with the Great Joe Frazier before he passed away, recipes and he was older, he's in the s and they grabbed the bag like a I want you to hit this bag, you know. So we put some gloves and I'm expecting him still to be dynably and he starts hitting the bag and I was like man, I think it's a maybe a cognitive thing. You know something about them or mobility or something like that. So I didn't know what to expect a Mike and it might my kiss a bag you. You might as well be some white heavyweight young prospect, though, the way it's the bad. He wouldn't eat. It's crazy. Yeah, that's that's whyld and then, yeah, what's the future for fight camp man? Just growing that subscriber base. We're doing some really cool content, experimental stuff. Pretty soon we shooting a couple weeks with some professional fighters. So we have Chris Algieri is...

...going to come in. That's supposed to be on the DL back a week that. Here Chris Aules your he's going to come in and give us some news on some give some information or users on nutrition. So he's got a master's degree in clinical nutrition. He's genius when it comes to that stuff. So we're going to film a whole module with him on nutrition for remember. So that's definitely new. Trying to really broaden out the offering. We recently added strength and conditioning to the platform for people as well. So before that was just back workouts, boxing and kickboxing, and now strength and condition as well. We're gonna have this nutrition stuff. So continue to add value the platform, just grow out that user base. Yeah, so what advice would you give to like a young entrepreneur or young boxer or both. Yeah, I mean, Shit Bobs Heard, like any young entrepreneur is. There's no rest, dedication, that's it. Every single day counts, you know what I mean. So that, whether it's no business, you should be. You should be on that, but especially when it's early in the game. Here's no weekends that he doesn't exist. You know, you're a boxer. It's like all them in between fights and I'm going to chill. My friends say, you young fighting, I'm at I'm going to drink, I'm going to go up and do things like that. That should catches up to you because, like guys I was telling you earlier, man, just from being involved in that amateur system for so long, you know, being in all the national tournaments, for all the musing stuff like that, and seeing these guys from the Arrow spencers of the world to the guys that you know fought at the same level as him that you never even heard of, because they're probably just as talented. The difference is that they don't put it the same fun of work. I catches up with you over the time because once you get that highest, highest level, that's you know, everybody's at a similar skill level, so it's like these little margins that count the books. You know? Yeah, yeah, know for sure. Are you ready for some fun questions? All right, was back. Who's your who's your favorite boxer of all time? Like, favorite in terms of skills is going to be floyd may weather. Um, you just can't touch him. How can you? How can you touch for me with her favorite in terms of societal impact and all that? Just favorite all around. I'm picking Jack Johnson and throw back Oge. But what a lot of people don't realize about Jack Johnson is that he's the you'll read it, you will see the he's the first heavyweight champion of all time because before Jack Johnson, heavyweights wouldn't fight heavy ways. Right, not all heavyweight to fight heavyways, like the heavyweight champions back then wouldn't fight anybody other than other white heavyweys. Yeah, in the way that Jack Johnson face that obstacle. There's an amazing documentary that can burns did on the life of Jack John if you haven't seen it yet, everybody should watch it free on youtube and it's probably the best documentary ever made. The way that he made that happen. He manifested that that's like that athlete confidence in that Selfbe beat. There was no way he was going to live and then die without that fight happening. And he used a lot of these tactics that fighters use nowadays. He used the media. So wherever the the heavyweight title was happening, Jack Johnson will be there and he be talking to the newspapers and he talking, talking to shit right, and he got it to a point to where he got the public wondering, I wonder what would happen if you know this dude, Fag Jack Johnser, that do fag Jack Jones, and it just that momentum. It builds and builds and build to the point where he got the media and the public so interested in that question that he was able to raise the money to make it sort of like, you know, an offer that the current heavyweight champion that time was a guy named Tommy...

Burns, couldn't refuse and it was an easy fight, the easy fight for him. And answered that course I love Jack Johnson the go. He's Jackie Robinson before Jackie Robinson, for sure. Let's know if I gotta check that documentary out. Yeah, what do you want to do in your free time. Man, work out. You know, I try to stay discipline myself. That's how you're we're going out. is so important to your mental state of your performance. Even at just as entrepreneur, you have to get up. Your body was meant to move some like you need to get some night. All these things matters so, so much to your performance. So I stay in shape. I kind of have to for work because I'm one of the trainers on the platform with bug camp and you can't have your trainer not being cheaped. Well, you're looking at the flower you like. I don't know if this works. There is anything here. So that's that's important to me. And just been just hanging out my wonderful girlfriend, hoping my future wife. Do you know? We do a lot of fun stuff. went off rooting last week for the first time. She's always pushing me into adventures and things like that. So that's so last one. What's your what are what are something that people don't know about you? Yea something people don't know about me? That's a good question. HMM, I don't know. Probably a lot of things, but it's like we all share. I'm not sure. I mean something people don't know about me. I do yog on the side. Could you imagine that? All Right? All right, Tommy. Well, I appreciate you coming on and I could you have the listeners know where they could find you at? Absolutely on Instagram, at Tommy. You can't definitely check out fight camp. It's if I can'tcom that's it. We're able to get that URL or at fight camp on instagram. Check US on Youtube. Everything else.

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