Former world heavyweight champion David Haye on his new Dubai venture
Former boxing world heavyweight champion David Haye tells Benita Adesuyan why new venture The Hayemaker Gym Dubai is set to be a knockout.
British boxer David ‘Hayemaker’ Haye has certainly got plenty of time on his hands to consider his future right now. He’s currently recovering after surgery on his right shoulder, an injury that has seen him cancel a scheduled fight with Tyson Fury in February. But as the former heavyweight and cruiser weight champion of the world rests his mighty muscles, he’s been busy flexing his business potential in Dubai, and is opening his first ever Hayemaker Gym in the city at the end of January.
The Hayemaker Gym is Haye’s first step out of the ring and into the realm of branding and business, so why choose Dubai for his debut?
‘I’ve been coming here for many years and always felt that the facilities that I have grown accustomed to in my travels around the world, were missing. Dubai is a special place for me and the people always make me feel very welcome so it felt right to make my first commercial gym here. The people we have shown the plans to loved what we are doing.’
Located in Downtown Dubai, it’s being marketed as more of a health club than just a gym with equipment. It might be Haye’s place but if you have visions of a sweaty boxer’s gym in mind, you’d be far off the mark. The fitness centre is a long way from the Fitzroy Lodge Boxing Club in Bermondsey, London where he first nurtured his passion. ‘It’s not just a boxer’s gym,’ says the fighter. ‘It has been created to offer a one-stop shop for training, nutrition and sports therapy. One thing that annoys me about some gyms is that they don’t have the right equipment or it’s a sterile environment – I’ve been in a lot of gyms so I know that The Hayemaker will really offer something different.’
The club is set to provide its members access to some seriously high-tech fitness equipment by ARTIS, Technogym’s most sophisticated training system. ARTIS allows users to tracktheir performance and training programmes through a cloud-computing platform. Other state-of-the-art facilities include a group cycling studio, which will feature MyRide+ software that transports riders across a range of landscapes as they cycle, and of course at the very heart of the gym is a full-size 6m x 6m boxing ring.
Haye says he has been heavily involved in the development process of the gym, and is not just putting his name to it but adding his unique stamp. The facility includes a restaurant, Bench, which Haye says was a key factor in the design.
‘It was a deal break if we couldn’t include a restaurant,’ says the heavyweight. ‘Nutrition is such an important part of getting the right results and to function in day-to-day life. What I’ve noticed is that people work very hard here and keeping your food intake up is crucial, especially after training. Bench cannot be closer for the end of your workout, being situated in the gym itself.’ The boxer’s own diet consists mainly of organic foods, a feature that is mirrored at Bench where members can refuel on healthy, tasty fare.
The boxer will be spending more time in the emirate, and can’t wait to start training in the new facility himself. So does that mean he’s planning a competitive comeback? ‘As long as the shoulder rehab goes well, yes I would want nothing more than to return to boxing. Hopefully I can recover and fight in the UAE as the last big contest here was Chris Eubank in 1996. It’s time for a massive fight in Dubai, as things really have moved on. The heavyweight world championship in Dubai would be amazing.’ So does the opening of the Hayemaker Gym signify the start of Brand Haye? ‘I’d like to think so, but we are taking small steps. We plan to be here for a long time so more important than growth is making sure Hayemaker Gym Dubai is the best it can be. All my years of experience are encapsulated in this gym.’ The Hayemaker Gym Dubai opens at the end of January 2014. Tower 2, Boulevard Plaza, Downtown Dubai, www.hayemakergym.com.
Spar with the stars
Check out other gyms in Dubai where visiting celebs have trained
Glory MMA & Fitness Has hosted the ‘Muscles from Brussels’ Jean Claude Van Damme, and British boxing star Amir Khan. Business Centre, Al Meydan (formerly Muscat) Road, Al Quoz (04 338 2922).
Gold’s Gym Dubai Has hosted the Brazil and UAE Rugby teams. Block B, Business Village, Deira (800 46537).