Tony Adeniran, the owner of Black Stallion Boxing Plus, pitched his Aqua Boxing Glove on the season finale of the wildly popular nationally-televised series
The touchstone of innovation is improvement, and creating something to make life better or more simple is at the heart of the innovative spirit. While you hear countless stories of people pursuing ideas, it’s not often that an invention is found to hold so much potential that it’s featured on a popular TV series for the entire world to see.
That was the experience for San Antonio-based entrepreneur Tony Adeniran who was featured on the Season 13 finale of ABCs Shark Tank. Adeniran, the owner of Black Stallion Boxing Plus, sought to gain the sharks' attention and investment for his product, The Aqua Boxing Glove—touted as giving athletes the ability to “box anywhere and workout anytime, with no heavy bag required, just add water.”
Tony Adeniran, Black Stallion Boxing Plus & Aqua Boxing Glove
Texas Innovators caught up with Adeniran to talk more about his product, his entrepreneurial beginnings, and how the principles he learned in athletics—specifically boxing— have shaped his life and business acumen.
Focus To Go All In
Appearing on TV is a nerve-wracking experience, coupled with pitching your product to a row of seasoned and successful business people; the experience is enough to leave anyone quaking in their boots. For Adeniran, however, the ability to steel his nerves comes almost on instinct, as he recalls how boxing has contributed to his grit and focus.
“I actually had to call on my experience from being in the ring. If it weren’t for all the boxing I’ve done in my life, I wouldn’t have had anything to compare to that level of stress. I was actually in the back shadowboxing and loosening up for [the experience].”
On managing to seem so calm and collected under pressure, Adeniran shares the effort involved focusing on something more significant than the moment, “My mind was so focused on the bigger picture that it helped me not get overwhelmed with the moment. In my mind, I was thinking, ‘whatever it takes to get my product out there.’ I was just focused on my business. I know boxing better than anyone on this stage, and I was going to use that as a safeguard to keep myself confident up there.”
An Idea Sparks Innovation
For Adeniran, believing in himself led him down a path to turning ideas into success. “I became a trainer back in 2010, and I had no real aspirations for becoming a business owner; it just happened. I had such a great clientele building up, to where I had so much demand ahead of supply, that I had to start really thinking on how to maximize on all this attention I was getting as a trainer.”
Pursuing a higher education would lend itself to what Adeniran wanted to accomplish long term, “I have a background in business and attended Texas A&M from 2006 to 2010, and I graduated with a bachelor’s in Business Management. I kind of knew how to put something together, but I had never had experience as a business owner.”
Undeterred, he launched his business and saw immediate success, “I had my clientele and decided to open up Black Stallion Boxing Plus in 2017. We’re pretty much a small group, a private training facility. We don’t do any big groups of 20 or 30 or 40, it’s not about packing people in there by volume. We focus on quality over quantity, and anyone who comes to the door, we’re able to customize a workout exactly to their needs versus what gyms offer.”
Adversity Leads to Scuccess
When the pandemic emerged, Adeniran modified parts of his business strategy when he couldn’t work with clients in the gym. Instead, he traveled to the homes of his athletes and would conduct his workouts outside and at a safe distance. “When Black Stallion Boxing Plus shut down at the beginning of the pandemic, it took me back to thinking of the hole in the market for boxing products, something that was no impact and something mobile.”
Too often in his boxing pursuits, as a trainer and an athlete, he had seen how injury from cumbersome equipment created setbacks, “I was taking heavy bags and heavy mitts all day. When you’re sparring, everything requires you to hit a hard, opposing target, causing you pain and damage to your hands.”
Wanting to pare down the experience and offer a simple and more efficient way to spar and train with his clients, he created Aqua Boxing Glove. “When I was traveling to all my clients' houses, door to door, I really focused on developing a product to take house to house, or for clients to have available and be able to use without having to hang up a heavy bag.”
The Aqua Boxing Glove is an affordable, no-impact, travel-friendly, resistance-based boxing workout that provides fitness enthusiasts and seasoned fighters a seamless yet dynamic mobile training tool. The unique product gives athletes the ability to train and curtail injury by using the ideal volume of water inside a specially designed boxing glove to create a dynamic workout that engages muscles and differs from the static training and use of a heavy bag.
Prior Preparation Prevents Poor Performance
Before landing a pitch on Shark Tank, Adeniran had already launched a Kickstarter campaign and secured over $40,000 to get The Aqua Boxing Glove developed. “What I’m looking to do is lock down my manufacturing and slowly build my distribution channels, through my website, through other people's websites. I want to be able to make deals with household names like BOSU, Everlast, Peloton…all the home fitness software companies. I want to get my gloves onto their platforms, onto their websites, to their subscribers because they already have the market share.”
The journey, for Adeniran, is just as much a reward as seeing his vision realized. As with anything else, the first step to success is discipline, “You have to be prepared. You want to win so bad, but you have to put in the work beforehand, and then the win will come. There’d be no question about winning if you put in the work. And some days you lose, but you always want to lose on the right principles, to go out there and say, I gave a 1000%.”
Looking for more information?
For more on The Aqua Glove visit Kickstarter.com.