Small Business Spotlight: Different Breed Sports Academy


TEANECK, N.J. — You don’t have to be a regular to know that the energy inside Different Breed Sports Academy in Teaneck is contagious.

The training facility, which has been going strong since 2019, doesn’t require members to be formally trained. All they ask is that they come with grit.

Business partners Don Somerville and Joe Butta were on a mission to change lives with the community gym they built around a family styled atmosphere.

“Our energy, our atmosphere, our hands-on engagement, our equipment, our boxing — that’s the enigma, not a lot of places have boxing at our level that Olympic-style world champion level,” Butta told PIX11 News.

When COVID struck, the gym like many, was forced to close its doors. When they finally got the green light to open back up, what they saw was a surge in clientele.

Most of which have never stepped inside a boxing facility, let alone a ring.

“Honestly it was like therapy for them,” Butta explained. “A lot of anxiety, a lot [of people] were not really sure what was going on, what was gonna happen – their future, you know, we were in uncertain times.”

Different Breed’s Blue Collar boxing program exploded in popularity as a true sign of the times.

Average Joes were embracing the art of boxing, developing skills and wowing even the most seasoned trainers.

“What Different Breed Sports Academy offered was an opportunity for folks to come back out and re-define themselves restructure themselves,” Coach DRED, a trainer at the facility, told PIX11.

For Mark Bonanni, who works in the addiction treatment field and Joseph Minetto, a sales rep, it was an opportunity to elevate their fitness routine.

“I am 34 years old, I got three kids at home you know and the typical bench press lat pulldown split wasn’t working anymore,” Minetto said.

The idea of getting into the ring was what excited Bonanni.

“The energy and the fear and anxiety of going in there with a guy who’s gonna try to take your head off is something I thought was pretty cool,” he said.

As the program keeps growing, Budda and his team are looking ahead by maintaining cleanliness at the gym while keeping members safe.

“These are definitely uncertain times but people are addicted to working out,” Budda said.

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