Spotlight: Fight Klub w/ Troy Dureh

— 9 Jan 2018 by Lauren Furey

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This weekend, Croydon's biggest workout event returns to Boxpark for the first time in 2018.

Fight Klub has swiftly become one of London's best-loved and sought after workout session. Each event is a guaranteed sell out and participants gather together to kick, punch and dance their way to a healthier body. We caught up with Fight Klub's founder, Troy Dureh, to find out more about his fascinating back story and the rise and rise of one of the country's most successful fitness classes.

For those who don't know, tell us who you are and what you do.

My name is Troy and I am the creator and founder of FIGHT KLUB® and Drum & Bass Workouts.

Fight Klub is a fitness class centred around boxing and martial arts; the workout is based around a premium grade freestanding punchbag and techniques are performed to underground music. Usually, Jungle and Drum & Bass with a touch of House, Garage & Grime.
DNB Workout is an equipment-free, combat inspired H.I.I.T class, exclusively delivered to Drum & Bass music. The workout is mainly focused on natural body weight exercises mixed with elements of boxing.

How did the idea for Fight Klub come about?

Fight Klub is really a mash-up of all the things I enjoyed doing in my late teens to early-mid twenties - fitness, boxing, martial arts, travelling, music, rapping and raving.

I qualified as a Fitness Instructor at 17 and had some amazing mentors and characters around me, the likes of Stormin' Norman, Cassius, Gerry Jackson, Fitzroy Gaynes, who I learned so much from. This gave me a very strong foundation and a good understanding of how to teach group exercise classes in a unique way. From there, I began implementing my own ideas and developed a pretty unique style of my own through practice, practice and more practice, which was inspired by the music I listened to.

In the late 90's I launched my first business which was basically an equipment-free version of the class. This is another story all together, but let's just say I had it all, lost it all and had to sell everything I owned to pay off the debts. I was in no position to start again right away, so I decided to give up the dream and get 'a proper job'. Looking back on it now, even though ultimately my first attempt ended in failure, I learned so much and also I realised I had a great idea, so I suppose it was like a dry run.

So in 2003 I changed direction and I started working for a central London gym chain called Gymbox, as their creative director. This new role coincided with the birth of my son, so I had new found vigour and it gave me the stability I needed at the time. I worked there for 7 years in total and my role was to develop lots of weird and wonderful creative classes. It was a great place for exercising my creative juices. One of the original classes I put on the programme was Fight Klub, which was an evolution of my equipment free class; it immediately took off and had waiting lists.
This role led to me being invited to lots of fitness conventions to showcase my quirky class ideas and that's where I introduced Fight Klub. Attending these National events began creating a demand around the UK with people contacting me to make appearances.

By the end of 2010 I was really struggling to balance full-time work and was actually spending most of my salary hiring vans to showcase Fight Klub at events. I also wasn't settled in the place I lived, so I made the drastic decision to jack in my job. I went on the road for 44 weekends in 2011 and crashed on the sofa at friends' houses during the week; thank you, Jason Smythe, Rachael Quinlan and John Ding)! By the end of 2011, the touring generated so much interest in the brand that I quickly realised it was going to be too much to deal with flying solo. So, in 2012, my now business partner, former event participant and Ying to my Yang, Claire Baycroft, came on board and things just went to the next level instantly. I have to say I owe her so much.

Fight Klub first went viral in 2014. In fact, social media took us from being a well-known fitness brand to being able to reach a global audience. In the last 24 months we have received over 50 million views which is absolutely mental. Even with over 400 locations nationwide, and with a further 100 locations across 5 countries, there are nowhere near enough locations running classes to service the amount of enquiries we receive. I honestly can't go anywhere without someone telling me their mum loves our classes or, "that's that thing on facebook", ha-ha! It's very humbling and motivating.

Now, Claire and I have a great support team around us which is growing rapidly, a fleet of instructors all over the country who are representing our brand by teaching amazing classes, and a fantastic group of loyal and hardworking master trainers, that I've been developing over the last 6 years who now can teach the class just as well, if not better, than I. It's great to see them continually develop and grow into fitness rockstars.

Let's not forget Boxpark Croydon which has been truly amazing for us. Everyone on site has been amazing to work with; marketing, events, maintenance, management, cleaners and security. Congratulations Roger Wade on such a brilliant concept.

The long of it is, success is not a one man band, so when talking about the "idea", I must share the credit with everyone who has contributed and helped to elevate me along the way. Now I enjoy elevating and contributing to the success of others through Fight Klub. So a big thank you to all of the above and also those not mentioned, you know who you are.

Fight Klub is always a sell-out. What do you think makes it so successful?

All of our Master Trainers verbalise their teaching instructions in an MC style which is pretty entertaining! I've been told by several event organisers that we have taken fitness instruction to another level, from a motivation perspective. But honestly, I think it is because there are now so many people out there who were raving in the late 80s and 90s, who are now at an age where their health is important. Most of these people find gyms and exercise classes boring, but now feel they have found something they actually enjoy and can stick at. I think the DJs we have performing help to bring back some nostalgia. I mean where else are you going to have the opportunity to attend a session with Fabio & Grooverider DJ-ing or General Levy Performing?

What would you say to people who are maybe on the fence about signing up for the next event?

Everyone can do this class. I know there are some people out there who think they need to get fit before they come to the class; this isn’t the case! We have had people aged 70+ attend our classes and events! Our events are very friendly, social and they're about having fun. People even hold their birthday parties and hen parties at our events, as its a great day out.
At Boxpark Croydon, we attempt to recreate the atmosphere of a night club by introducing well-known DJs and recording artists, with an amazing sound system, so that when that bassline drops you can feel it in your bones! Our instructors teach in a ‘call and response’ style which really gets the crowd to interact; the energy is electric.

Think of it as 'exercise in disguise' or 'Healthy Raving'!

Speaking of well-known DJs, you've had quite a few legends take to the stage, who have been some of your personal favourites?

I think the stand out moment this year was when General Levy made an appearance. We had to put on two events in consecutive weeks! He even made us a Fight Klub edition of his Ed Sheeran 'Shape of You' remix, which was amazing.
I'm not just saying this but all of the DJs we've had this year have ripped it up, so I'm going to give them all a shout out - Bryan Gee, Nicky Blackmarket, Fabio & Grooverider, Jumpin Jack Frost, Ray Keith, Kenny Ken, Ratpack, Bailey, Brockie, Randall, Delta-X, Shabz, Crabby, MC Kie & Lex Beats, Woody, Rogue, Kele Le Roc, Lonyo & MC Onyxstone, Nana, Navigator, Virgo Don, The Ragga Twins, TQ Youngman of Rough Tempo and the team at Radar Radio - thank you, all!

What can people expect from this Saturday's Fight Klub at Boxpark Croydon?

We have Levi Roots coming down to perform his new track called 'Unstoppable', produced by Supply & Demand and Jumpin Jack Frost, who was actually the first industry legend we had perform for us in 2012. We have giveaways on the day, limited edition t-shirts and Levi is also going to use footage from his performance at the event for his music video. We also have DJ/producer of the moment, Serum, performing for us, which is going to be amazing!

Finally, what is your favourite workout song?

Right now, at Fight Klub it has to be 'Cricket Bat' by DJ Serum, crazy bassline!​ If we're talking old skool, then 'Bambaata' by Shy FX  always gets me pumped.

This your final chance to grab your tickets for Fight Klub, this weekend, and fight yourself fit to the sounds of Serum and Levi Roots. You can follow Fight Klub online on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.