Sunderland Olympian Tony Jeffries receives YouTube award for fitness videos
Sunderland-born Olympian Tony Jeffries has long boxed clever when it comes to harnessing the power of social media – and now he’s received an award from YouTube.
The boxer, who now lives in LA, has already built up a firm following on Instagram with 338,000 followers, but growing a legion of YouTube subscribers has allowed him to make a living, with his usual income revenue halted due to Covid.
After hanging up his professional boxing gloves, Tony moved abroad and set up his Box’N’Burn gyms in LA which proved hugely successful, helping people improve their fitness through boxing techniques. As well as its regular, loyal members, it also attracted athletes and celebrities such as Sugar Ray Leonard, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Hemsworth.
Like gyms in the UK, however, both sites had to close their doors in March due to the pandemic and Jaffa had to think outside of the box to earn a living.
The dad-of-three began making livestream workout videos for people to join in with at home, which are being viewed by people around the world. Now, he’s received a silver award from YouTube for reaching 100,000 subscribers on the video sharing platform.
"I’m buzzing about the award,” said Tony. “At the end of 2019 I set myself a New Year’s Resolution of not drinking and to build my YouTube following. I’d already built a following on Instagram, but YouTube is the hardest platform to grow.
"With the gyms and my Box’N’Burn Academy being closed, I used my spare time and the closed gym to make videos back in March. It was very slow to build at first, but it soon began to gain momentum and I got more and more subscribers.
"I do three videos a week and it’s a lot of work, but it’s starting to pay off and by October I was able to earn money from it because YouTube split the ad revenue with the content maker when you reach a certain level."
In the days since the award, Jaffa’s subscribers have grown further to 158,000 and he now has a team who help him edit content.
Over the course of his sports career, Tony has won numerous national, European and international awards, including bronze at the Beijing Olympics, but he says this award has been particularly special.
"It feels really different to my boxing awards,” said the former Farringdon School pupil. “Even though it is related to boxing, it’s more about my creative skills and educational stuff. I left school with no GCSEs, all I knew was boxing, so I was so buzzing to receive this award.”
Speaking about life in America, he said: “We have no idea when, or if, we can open the gyms again. Rent for the gyms is very expensive and the Government helped us a bit last year, which kept us afloat, and we hope they will this year too.
"America really is a crazy place to be right now. Trump supporters are very intense and, compared to England, it feels like politics is a lot more in your face here. With Covid as well, it’s only magnified that.”