Young pro boxer takes over Rogers gym

Josh Clark (middle) took over Strike Fitness from Lana Royce (right) and Mark Royce (left) in August at 21 years old. (Photo courtesy of Strike Fitness)

Josh Clark had planned for a much longer road to becoming a gym owner, but in August, at the age of 21, he became the owner of Strike Fitness a boxing/kickboxing fitness gym in Rogers.

Clark has grown up around pro fighters and fought in his first amateur boxing match when he was 12-years-old. With around 30 fights under his belt, he became a pro boxer this year.

He planned to own his dad’s mixed martial arts gym when he was around 30. But when approached by Strike Fitness owners Mark and Lana Royce, after working there for a year, he could not pass up the opportunity for ownership.

“I had a few question marks over my head of how am I going to do this, am I capable of running my own gym this young,” Clark said. “I’ve had huge support from my dad’s gym, my teammates, my family, my friends. And I told Mark and Lana ‘there’s no looking back and just so you know I’m ready for this and I’ll make sure to put my best foot forward and make this the best year possible.’”

Family heritage is important to Clark. His grandfather, who moved to the United States from Ireland, was a bare-fist fighter and opened a gym. Clark’s dad has also owned a gym for almost 13 years. Clark feels that he is following in their footsteps.

“It’s kind of funny how history repeats itself and how you find yourself made on a similar wavelength as your ancestors and people in your family,” Clark said.

Clark worked as a trainer at Strike Fitness with Mark and Lana Royce for a year before taking over. The Royces started Strike Fitness in June of 2020 and the gym was forced to close for three months during the pandemic. The Royces are moving to Arizona, closer to family and had been planning on handing over Strike Fitness to Clark for almost ten months before he took over.

“It was just a perfect match. We couldn’t get a more perfect person to buy the gym from us,” Mark said. “We’re happy for him to take over and take Strike Fitness to new heights.”

Clark does not feel COVID-19 will be an obstacle after seeing membership stabilizing and double from last summer after taking a hit. Clark also found from his coaching experience at Strike Fitness that while members might be leery of his age at first, they look past it once they work with him.

“I might be young, but I come with plenty of experience,” Clark said. “The members here know me from the last year, and they know what I bring to the table.”

Strike Fitness is mainly a boxing gym. It offers 45-minute workouts, boot-camp classes, as well as classes in mixed martial arts, kickboxing and boxing. According to Clark, professional fighters who are experienced in the sport can help and instruct customers. Clark’s plan isn’t to change the atmosphere of the gym set by its previous owners.

“I don’t think people like change,” Clark said. “I think Mark and Lana selling the gym to me helps tell people I’m going to keep things very similar. Making sure the energy is the same or better.”

Clark is looking to add a self-defense class, Jujitsu classes and other technique and sparring classes for those looking to take boxing beyond just a workout.

For the future, Clark is excited to maybe expand and renovate the building to allow for more space, but is focused on just adding new classes and deals for now.

The grand re-opening for the gym is 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 18. Current members or anyone who wishes to check out the gym can come to the open house to learn more and take a tour.

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