Mayweather Boxing + Fitness answers the bell in Newport Coast

Burrel Lee Wilks III, stands at the new Mayweather Boxing + Fitness studio in Newport Coast.
Burrel Lee Wilks III, stands at the new Mayweather Boxing + Fitness studio in Newport Coast. Wilks, a local entrepreneur, author and life coach, is the vice chairman and co-founder of the boxing gym chain owned by retired boxing superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Three words are on the back wall of the gym, in big letters.

“Hard Work. Dedication.” it reads at the new Mayweather Boxing + Fitness studio in Newport Coast.

Those are words that served superstar Floyd Mayweather Jr. well in his standout professional boxing career, which saw him retire with a perfect 50-0 record. Now others looking to take up the sport, or just shed a few pounds, can learn some of Mayweather’s tricks of the trade.

The studio, located in the Pavilions shopping center, held a soft opening on March 5. It’s owned by Newport Coast resident Burrel Lee Wilks III.


Wilks, an entrepreneur and author, is a friend of Mayweather’s and the vice chairman and co-founder of Mayweather Boxing + Fitness. He believed in the product enough to become a franchisee himself.

“The good thing about working out is that it doesn’t spoil, it’s not a phase,” said Wilks, 54, originally from Chicago. “It doesn’t go in and out of style. Working out is a lifestyle.”

Wilks said he’s known his good friend Mayweather “since Lassie was a pup and Moby Dick was a goldfish.” In human years, it’s been about a decade.

“It’s been incredible to have Burrel by my side throughout this journey,” Mayweather said in a statement. “He’s been a tremendous business partner and I can’t wait to see him open his own location on the Newport Coast. I can’t say it enough, it’s all about the team that’s around you, and Burrel has played a pivotal role in the success of our brand.”

Coach Ian Cohen shows proper form as he prepares for a class at the new Mayweather Boxing + Fitness studio in Newport Coast.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

Wilks said there are 55 Mayweather gyms open now, and there should be nearly 100 open by the end of the year. The flagship location is on Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles, just a few miles from where Mayweather can often be seen attending NBA games at Arena.

“We’ve been in existence 3½ years, and it’s going strong,” Wilks said, adding that studios owned by other franchisees are coming soon in Irvine and Costa Mesa.

The studio offers 45-to-60-minute group training sessions throughout the day that can be booked through a smartphone app. It differs from other gyms in that it offers a “Fight of the Week.” Each week, members will learn different training methods and techniques that Mayweather used while preparing for one of his 50 professional fights.

This particular week, the Fight of the Week was Mayweather’s technical knockout of Emanuel Augustus on Oct. 21, 2000.

The main boxing floor of the new Mayweather Boxing + Fitness studio in Newport Coast.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

“We incorporate combinations that he might have been doing on the bags, and we also incorporate the actual workout routines,” said instructor Ian Cohen, a former amateur MMA fighter whose fight nickname was “The Barbarian.”

The boxing sessions use smart-screen technology to project Mayweather’s image throughout the duration of the class. There’s also the fitness component — treadmills, rowers, battle ropes and free weights are all part of the program.

If members complete 50 workouts during their first 90 days, they become part of the “50-0 Club.”

“We’ll give them a shirt and put their name up on the wall,” studio manager David Welch said. “It’s building up that consistency. At the end of the day, that’s where you get your results, is consistency.”

Wilks, who has lived in the area for about two decades, said he saw an opportunity to offer a unique workout experience.

“It’s going to become a sweat party that they don’t want to be tardy to,” he said. “If you don’t do any exercise, you’re going to go to the doctor. The doctor will give you some meds, they’re going to do your blood work, and they’re going to come back and tell you that you’ve got to start exercising.

“They’re going to send you to see a guy like me, so you might as well come see me first and save the doctor’s bill.”

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