My Shanghai, an Urban Family series where we ask a Shanghai-based somebody to tell us about their life.
Jay Jay Jiang has done it all, from surviving cancer to raising her daughter to learning to box in gyms around the world. She recently transitioned from a career in the wine industry to the business of boxing. Jay Jay is now the General Manager of WeBox Gym, which is set to open on Donghu Lu in Shanghai this month.
WeBox is a revolutionary fitness boxing concept that is perfect for anyone looking for a good workout. If you're interested in joining in on all the boxing fun, WeBox is giving away a free 1-year membership worth RMB8,288 to one lucky Urban Family reader. You can also sign up for membership half price now by scanning the QR code at the end of the interview.
Ahead of the highly-anticipated opening, we chat with Jay Jay about how she got into boxing, and how it's changed her life.
How did you first get into boxing?
A year ago, I was stuck on a plateau of weight loss. I was seeking a new way to continue to lose weight and achieve my goal while enjoying the exercise. Golden Gloves boxing gym offered me a free trial and the class changed my view on boxing. It showed me that it’s a lot of fun and a great way to release stress.
What appeals to you about the sport?
The results. I was looking for a way to efficiently lose weight while practicing sports. This is a sport that allows you to get some serious results if you really dedicate yourself to it. Besides, it’s a fun way to spend time and release stress. The more I train the better I am. This is what excites me.
How does the boxing gym business compare to the wine business?
The wine business is a life of pleasure. Your main goal is to give a unique experience to your guests through different flavors – blending wine with fine dining. My passion for boxing drives my career in a different way. After 10 years working for the same company, I spent my holiday in a boxing training camp in Thailand. While there I trained, ate and slept. I felt like it was a dream job for me, so when I got this amazing opportunity to have my dream job I jumped on it.
Now, I’ve moved from the wine industry that provides the pleasure of food and drink, to the boxing industry that provides the discipline of being healthy. It makes me work on the project of life balance. I want my customers to work hard, but play hard too. You can enjoy quality time with your family, nice food, nice cocktails, and then come sweat out in our WeBox gym!
You are a fighter, a businesswoman and a mother – how do you balance it all?
It is all about time management and life balance. I am a workaholic. I enjoy every achievement from work, but life is short so you need to balance it all. As a single mom of a 14-year-old daughter, there are always challenges. However, she is more than my daughter. She is my travel partner, my best friend and my inspiration.
As I was preparing for my first fight of the 2017 Brawl she provided a lot of support all along the way. Same with my second fight on the GGBG 25 May 2018 Gym fight. I have been working hard to be her role model, provide for her the best I can, so she is proud of me. And this keeps me motivated!
You are also a cancer survivor – is there any tougher fight than that?
I believe things happen for a reason and going through this experience made me born again, like a phoenix. That's where my fight name comes from. Luckily, I did overcome it. I look back at the time I just found out I had cancer, I asked a million times “Why? WHY ME?” I started thinking about the things I haven’t done, where I haven’t been. My daughter was so little. I wanted to stay with her longer. I was so not ready to leave this world.
I decided not to focus on why and the things that had already happened. I tried not to just stay in bed. I’d spend five days in the hospital, go home and rest for a week, then go to work for two weeks. I love work, and working in the office made me feel normal, like everyone else. My daughter was a great support during that time and in a way I have her to thank for fighting. Now, I feel life has given me another chance, so I am looking forward to enjoying every little thing!
What have you learned about yourself since you started boxing?
That I can be an athlete! I was always bad at sports, so it wasn’t easy for me. My mom always told me: “You are not worse than anyone else; if they can do it, you can do it.” I want to tell people, if I can do it, so can you. I started training hard, eating healthy, improving my technique and now I am proud to be a boxing lover. When I am traveling, I always find and train in a local boxing gym. Meeting boxing lovers from all over the world is amazing!
Who do you look to for inspiration?
My mom is my inspiration. She is a strong woman. She’s also a single mom. She raised me and my sister alone. She was a housewife and didn’t work until my dad left when I was 14 years old. She fought to keep me and my sister together with her, so the court wouldn’t separate us. She had to start to work from scratch and worked her way up in an insurance company. My mom is a superstar for me to look up to and learn from. She made me who I am today.
What is your favorite boxing quote and why?
“Fighting is a sport; if you’re not humble it's going to bring humbleness to you.” Mike Tyson
Fighting is a sport. If you are not humble, it will eat you from the inside. You will always have someone better than you to stay humble. I respect every one of my opponents and never underestimate them. Being humble is also part of Chinese culture and part of my belief system.
Tell us about your last fight?
I just had a fight at fight night with my friend who I used to train with (we also ran Spartan race together). She is one of the toughest girls I look up to and I was super excited knowing that I was going to fight with her. I was preparing so hard that I injured both my knees before the fight. However, I took the pain, went into the ring and won. I'd like to see my own fight through someone else's eyes. Two good friends testing each others’ skills by giving the best they can, then hugging each other after.
What is your philosophy when it comes to life in the ring?
I am a fighter and survivor. I don’t see myself losing at the moment. As in life, it's is not about how hard you hit, it’s how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done!
What is your spirit animal?
The best spirit animal for me will be a Tiger. I even got a tattoo of a tiger during my trip to the boxing camp in Thailand.
Finish this sentence: “You should join the new WeBox Gym, because…”
You will rebuild yourself here. This is not only a boxing gym, WeBox welcomes you as a best friend, a family member. This will be the best fitness community in Shanghai, in China and in the world.
If you're looking to get in shape this summer, we've got good news for you. WeBox is opening a new gym on Donghu Lu next month, and they're offering a 50 percent discount to the first 100 people who sign up for an annual membership. But it's only valid until Friday June 8, so you better get on it. Just scan the QR code in the poster below. And if you want to learn how you can win a free 1-year membership worth RMB8,288, click here.
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