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Ep#5 – From Women’s Boxing Champion to Entrepreneur with Liz Parr

From Women’s Boxing Champion to Entrepreneur with Liz Parr

In this episode of You Did That!, I welcome Liz Parr, the owner of Guvnor’s Boxing Club in Long Beach, California. She is also a Womens Boxing 5x US Champion and a Team USA Athlete. She is currently on the long, long road to creating champions, all while owning/running her own boxing club. Most importantly, she is remembering to create a life outside of work. You can learn more about her classes, her athletes, and a little bit about her life by following her instagram page @guvnorsboxingclub.

We are celebrating her for not only excelling in her athletic career, but for starting her own business in a male-dominated field.

Main Topics Discussed:

  • From professional boxer to gym owner as a Latina
  • How underground pro boxer Lenny McLean inspired Liz
  • The moment Liz’s business felt “official” for her
  • Why Liz feels most fulfilled training kids
  • The importance of self-care

Tell me about your experience going into business for yourself.

Liz: A long time ago, I was a 5x US champion and traveled the world, maybe winning Silver in the Pan Am games twice. I don’t remember. It feels like a whole lifetime ago. Currently, after a lot of trials and tribulations, I own my own business. I’m the front desk, janitor, trainer, account manager, all the things. Starting a business was definitely the scariest thing I’ve done because, after a while, fighting people eventually just became a part of what I did. But going from a neanderthal to a human being who has to read a paper was a hard transition for me!

Where did the name “Guv’nors Boxing Club” come from?

Liz: A lot of different things. My husband’s from Manchester, and we support Manchester City. The hooligans are called “guv’nors”. There’s somebody called Lenny McLean who was an underground bare-knuckle boxing champion—all-around gangster, badass, fucking bipolar guy. He was also “The Guv’nor”. I love him so much. My gym was named after the feeling I felt when I watched him.

When was the moment your business became official to you?

Liz: When they handed me the keys and all of the money went out of my account. Not only did I give everything that I had, but I also went negative. I remember my stomach hurting and wanting to puke. I didn’t know anything about running a business, and not a lot of people wanted to help. When I felt that there was nothing left, it became real.

Do you know other women who have done what you did?

Liz: I don’t, but I don’t think that there aren’t any. There are probably women out there like me but don’t put themselves out there as much. They just go about their business. They’re doing their thing. What they do is on a need-to-know basis.

What other challenges did you face when you started your business?

Liz: Money. When you’re self-made—when you don’t have any credit or anyone who is going to cosign for you, it’s a lot harder. There was nobody loaning me money, and I wouldn’t have accepted anyone anyway, because I never want to sink somebody else if I fail. I’d rather go down by myself.

How does it feel not having a lot of people who look like you in professional boxing or owning a boxing gym?

Liz: It’s being advertised more than back then. It’s bigger in other countries like Mexico, who have been headliners for a long time. I just think that, sometimes, the general population doesn’t care about women’s sports unless they’re actually a fan of the sport. The people I respect were really excited for me, and I got help from many trainers. I just think of it as a job that needs to be done, and I’ll do that job regardless of how you feel about me. Other people’s opinions don’t pay me.

What is the favorite thing that you learned about yourself as a result of this process?

Liz: That I love training kids. Even though I knew it then, I know it more now. I like to watch them learn, and hopefully imprint a little bit of my personality in them! I really love this special connection to them, where I’m not their parent or really their friend. I’m this person who is teaching them things that they can apply in their life years down the line. It makes me feel really good that I’m helping kids learn more about themselves, which will influence them for the better down the road. It makes me feel that my life has value. And it’s all a byproduct of boxing.

What would your younger self say if she saw you now?

Liz: There would be a lot of explaining to do. The younger me would say, “You’re not a millionaire?” But, once I explain my path, younger me would be amazed, because I still feel very much the same person. But I’ve overcome so many trials. My younger self would say, “Damn, bitch, you’re badass. That’s hard shit. I thought fighting was hard, but that’s way harder.”

If you were still starting, what advice would have made things smoother?

Liz: More time dedicated to self-care.

Learn more about Guv’nors Boxing Club:

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