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STORIES Founder, Tonya Kidd-Beggs chats with Jake McBride, founder of Hooked Boxing Club, on the importance of physical health, mental health and bringing boutique, niche gyms to Belfast.

Hi Jake, could you briefly introduce yourself and your background to us?

Hi there, my name is Jake McBride. I am the owner of Hooked Boxing Club, which has two studios in Northern Ireland - Holywood and Belfast. Our mission is to boost mental and physical health through the art of boxing. 

What inspired you to pursue a career in boxing?

I was inspired to pursue a career in boxing because of the positive impact it had on my own mental health. During a difficult period in my life, boxing became a way for me to focus my energy and escape negative thoughts. As I started training, I realized that there were many busy professionals who were looking for a fitness outlet that could help them switch off from work and stay mentally stimulated. This led me to establish Hooked Boxing Club and provide a space for people to improve their well-being through boxing. 

You talk honestly and openly about your mental health; how has this shaped you into the person you are today?

Being open and honest about my mental health struggles has shaped me into the person I am today. While obsessive-compulsive disorder has presented challenges, I believe that if managed correctly, it can be a superpower. My obsessive nature has driven my career and instilled an "all in" mentality in both business and life. 

Where did you find the encouragement and inspiration to start boxing; was it any particular role model?

The encouragement and inspiration to start boxing came from my father, Justin McBride. He had a successful background in football, playing semi-professionally for Glentoran and Linfield. While I initially thought my path would follow in his footsteps, work commitments prevented me from pursuing football. Boxing became a way for me to pass the time initially, but I quickly fell in love with the sport and found that it brought me happiness. There have been numerous individuals who have obtained positive outcomes since joining Hooked Boxing Club. 

Is there any stories of individuals who have obtained positive outcomes since joining Hooked?

One client, in particular, has expressed how much boxing has helped her mental health. She has become a member and shared that boxing is her go-to activity when she is feeling low. Hearing stories like this fills me with gratitude and motivates me to continue providing a space for people to improve their well-being. 

What are your plans for the future?

Looking ahead, our plans for the future involve expanding the Hooked Boxing Club brand. We believe in the strength of our brand and the authenticity of our story. Our goal is to franchise our model to different countries around the world, allowing more people to benefit from the unique luxury experience we offer. 

What is your favourite stories product and why?

When it comes to my favourite STORIES product, I have to say it's STORIES Nº.02. The scent is phenomenal, and I love the branding of all the products and also the authenticity behind the brand.


Scents often evoke memories, I tell my story through fragrances in the hope that others would connect with their own story. What is your most captivating / earliest memory relating to fragrance?

In terms of fragrance memories, my most captivating and earliest memory is walking into the boxing gym and being greeted by the smell of wraps and old wood. It's a distinct scent that always brings me back to that moment and reminds me of the passion and dedication that boxing represents.


A big thank you Jake for taking the time to share your story! I love your ability to talk openly about your own struggles with mental health and how you've channelled that into something amazing; inspiring others along the way!

You can find out more about Hooked Boxing Club here or @hookedboxingclub on Instagram.

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