Becoming Andrew Tate: The Life And Times Of The Internet’s Most Notorious Influencer

Despite their attempts at gaining fame and fortune on television, it was in the kickboxing gym where the brothers truly thrived. They attended Storm Gym in Luton, a well-equipped facility in an old warehouse on a commercial estate, under the tutelage of Amir Subasic, an ex-military kickboxer, who became close with them and their family.

Staff at the gym declined to comment on Andrew or Tristan, and the gym’s website was recently updated, removing descriptions of Andrew as “one of the most devastating fighters” and Tristan as “a war machine.” 

Johal, the gym owner from Leicestershire, thought that Andrew was a skilled kickboxer, admiring the way he fought with his hands down, a high-risk strategy that allows fighters to bob and weave quickly but exposes them to the dangers of a knockout blow.

Johal suspected that Andrew learned his talent for self-promotion during his years as a fighter. “Andrew’s always been a bit controversial. Sometimes you have to be the bad cop,” Johal said, explaining that the big money and fights go to the loudest pugilists.

“Andrew learned that a long time ago. He’s always said things to get people’s backs up, to get noticed. As a person he’s nothing like that,” Johal said. He added that Andrew used to go onto online kickboxing forums and write controversial things to stir up attention for his bouts.

Ibrahim El Boustati, a Dutch kickboxer who defeated Andrew and took his championship belt in 2016, told the Mirror that the alpha male persona is all an act. “He is lying to a lot of people, he’s not the person he says he is,” he told the tabloid. “I know him very well, Andrew and his brother Tristan. I talked with them all week before the fight doing interviews, and he’s a very kind person.”

Andrew also took over-the-top approach marketing his bouts with the fighting press, telling one interviewer from Love 2 Fight, a combat sports zine, in 2013 that he came from a mystical land called Wudan and was trained by a figure called Master Po. This story would later be incorporated into Tate’s misogynistic training materials, illustrated with elaborate manga-style cartoons, and adopted by his followers.

“His fights were selling themselves,” Johal said. “He literally called himself ‘the Cobra.’ Because like a cobra, his right hand, straight from behind, would knock most people out.” 

Both brothers had success in the ring. Andrew won several world title fights and Tristan won two British titles. While it wasn’t a lucrative trade, it did bring in some money. Andrew finally got a sports car, an Aston Martin DB9, when he earned £10,000 from a fight.

“That was quite an odd thing because it was a one-bedroom flat with an Aston Martin DB sat outside,” O’Halloran recalled. That led to the origin of Andrew’s infamous nickname “Top G.” “We used to always say when we were younger, ‘What a top G,’” O’Halloran recalled. “The guy’s a top gangster here — he’s driving an Aston Martin.”

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