Hello everyone, welcome to the Company Spotlight!
This time I got to interview John Docherty, the founder of Boxing Hand Grenade! Boxing Hand Grenade makes super innovative fist loaders, which are supposed to protect your hands when you punch. Without further ado, here is the interview with John!
1. Tell us a little bit about your brand. Who are you and what do you guys represent?
Our brand, Boxing Hand Grenade is named after our launch product The Boxing Hand Grenade Fist-loader, it was developed as a result of an accumulative injury that I sustained to my own hand and wrist from bag work and sparring. Thank you for inviting us for an interview with Sponsor The Fighters Company Spotlight, we really respect the work that you do.
I am John Docherty, founder of BHG, and alongside my partner Alexia Grey, we are in the process of developing products that we feel will transform the boxing gloves of the future.
As a troubled young teenager I was taken under the wing of Scottish boxer Alexander McPhee, he was a great inspiration to me and coached me for several years. Sadly, due to issues with my eyesight realising my dream of becoming a pro boxer wasn’t meant to be, but for the past 30 years I’ve found ways to stay close to a sport that I love including the creation of a brand that specialises in hand protection for boxers. I believe that the secret to hand protection in boxing is in the palm of the hand, and our brand represents a mission to reinvigorate the design and development of a boxing glove component that we feel has been left behind over the years, that component is a glove’s grip-bar.
What are some of your proudest moments in developing your brand?
After 2 years of obsessive development it was a very proud moment to hold the finished product in our hand for the first time. Since then we’ve had several proud moments including great reviews from boxing review channels in both the UK and USA, including our personal favourite Fit2Box Channel - Simon Higgins is a great guy who has continually offered us guidance and advice with the development of our products.
We also feel very proud to have had our product featured within a limited edition run of gloves from a very well known Italian glove maker, and more recently our new version of our Boxing Hand Grenade - the GhostGrip3D Carbon DLS fist-loader has been exhibited at a number of technology shows across USA. Seeing our product exhibited amongst great products from world leading brands like Adidas, Specialized, Riddell and Osprey was a super proud moment for us. The highlight for us though is the relationships that we’ve built with our customers across the world, we feel proud to call them friends.
How do you spend your time building your brand?
Our main focus to date has been the ongoing development of our products, we haven’t really reached the stage of building our brand as such, we tirelessly focus on perfecting our BHG fist-loader and also developing new products which we feel excited to be launching soon. We mostly use IG and LinkedIn to share information and insights into what we are working on. We want to make a genuine difference to amateur, professional and fitness boxers alike, and we feel that the best thing we can do to achieve that is to focus the majority of our energy on product development.
What are some of the hardships that you have faced when building your company, and how did you (or how are you planning to) overcome them?
A lack of funding/investment has been an ongoing stumbling block. Building a brand is like having a baby that continually needs to be fed and clothed. We are grateful to everyone who has been involved behind the scenes without whom we would never have gotten off the ground. We also lost a total of four family members during the past few years, two of which were my parents who both died 9 days apart from Covid-19, it has been very challenging emotionally but focusing on product development has really helped me personally.
Where do you see your brand in 5-10 years? If you could summarize your brand in a quote, what would it be?
In the next 5-10 years our brand will have a far greater reach in making a positive difference to many more boxers who choose to use our products. We hope to be offering regular sponsorship to local athletes, as well as those from further afield, who may catch our eye. We hope to also have our own manufacturing facility here in the UK, that will leverage the most technologically advanced digital additive manufacturing processes and machinery. In the next several years we see ourselves launching ground breaking products. I am currently exploring the idea of a bionic boxing glove that will utilise AI encapsulated within a second-skin elastomeric glove and deliver data that will offer a unique insight into the specifics of impact shock, knuckle placement and precise performance of the striking fist. A quote that really inspires our work is “Imagination is more important than knowledge” – Albert Einstein
What advice would you give to your past self of when you first started the company/brand?
Even though I’ve trained in boxing for over three decades and have been an Instructor for many years in Jeet Kune Do and Filipino Martial Arts, the fact that I never actually became a boxer left me feeling inadequate and unworthy of launching a boxing brand, I was trained to be a fighter but constantly invalidated myself due to a lack of achievement. To my past self I would suggest looking at the great honour and purpose that it is to create hand protection products for the great athletes involved in this sport that I love. Not everyone involved in the sport is destined to climb through those ropes and risk their life.
Are there any particular types of athletes you had in mind to sponsor?
Unfortunately we’ve not quite reached the level where we have the ability to offer much in the way of sponsorship. We have, in small ways assisted a couple of local fighters and boxing clubs. To answer your question I would say that we want to work with local, talented young athletes who need help to realise their dream. Ideally we would focus our attention on sponsoring one male and one female boxer.
What do you look for when sponsoring someone?
It would have to be someone who we admire and respect. We currently have our eye on an amazing young lady who lives in the same town as we do, she is a fantastic young boxer and we are hopeful that we can perhaps assist her and her team via sponsorship as soon as our brand is able to do so.
Do you have any projects or products you are working on/would like to promote?
We are very excited to be soon launching a new kind of grip-bar, a traditional shape cylindrical bar but with an advanced mechanical response that has been achieved via the unique lattice matrix configuration. Our GhostGripBar3D is manufactured via advanced 3D printing technology (Carbon Digital Light Synthesis) from an engineering grade specialised elastomeric material. This new grip-bar will outperform any fabric or foam bar that has gone before it. We are also working with specialists to formulate a knuckle wax that will hopefully encourage boxers to look after their hands which are their greatest tool.
Is there anyone you would like to give a shoutout to?
Shout out to you guys for doing this story, we’re grateful for the opportunity to reach out to people who may never have heard of our product. Also a big shout out to our good friend Russell Pearce, who is a former Welsh Amateur Boxing Champion who turned pro and struggled with addiction to alcohol. In recent times he has come out of retirement and will soon return to the ring, fired up and rejuvenated by his transition to the world of bareknuckle boxing, Good luck Russ!