Hong Kong fight club: hedgies v. bankers

Fund managers, investment bankers and traders weigh in at Hong KongÆs inaugural Hedge Fund Fight Nite.
The psychological battle began last night as ten out of 12 contenders in Hong KongÆs only white-collar boxing event weighed in at new harbourside venue Watermark. Set to the thumping beat of ôEye of the Tigerö, the contenders from the world of hedge funds, investment banks and trading desks took to the stage with their opponents for a chance to strut their stuff.

Admittedly it was a polite, gentlemanly event, with no trash talking and only one battler coming out with both fists swinging û that would be EnglandÆs Will æMad DogÆ Marsden of Mergermarket.

Most of the boxers looked a bit sheepish as they were paraded down by one of the black leather-clad æNever Say Never Again GirlsÆ, who will serve as ring girls next week. They gamely climbed onto the stage, although AustraliaÆs Adam æKilgourÆ Upton of JF Asset Management leapt up from the floor, to the audienceÆs approval. The atmosphere on stage was that of a team rather than of 10 men trying to intimidate one another's opponents. (Two of the boxers were travelling.)

That said, the fighters and their trainer are confident good manners will turn into alpha-male competitiveness once the boxers enter the ring.

The Hedge Fund Fight Nite, which will raise money for charity Operation Smile, will be held Wednesday, 28 November at the Conrad Hotel. Real-estate investor Intellectual Property is the main sponsor for the event. There will be six fights, each consisting of three two-minute rounds. The organisers say theyÆve already raised HK$200,000 and are aiming to raise $1 million by the end of next weekÆs black-tie action.

None of the Dirty Dozen have boxed previously, although most are sporty types. Will æthe GunnerÆ Sirret of Interactive Brokers, for example, says he plays rugby and sails. But part of the motivation was to get back in shape. ôI started off at 100 kilograms and got down to 91kg û although I think IÆve put some back on again,ö he says. (Sirret weighed in at 94kg.)

ôItÆs good to have a goal,ö says EnglandÆs Toby æWight RhinoÆ Bland of hedge fund Enhanced Investment Products. ôBut IÆll be glad when itÆs over.ö

With an initial pool of 28 fighters entering training five months ago, the numbers whittled down as many realised this wasnÆt going to be a walk in the park, says Andrew Wong Kee, founder of Jab Mixed Martial Arts. Jab trained all the fighters for free as its contribution to the charity. Wong Kee says most of the lads arrived out of shape and the first three months were dedicated to an intense circuit training for fitness, before anyone approached a punching bag. ôTheyÆre ready now for competitive boxing,ö he says. The training involved twice weekly group sessions as well as solo work on boxersÆ own time.

Together on stage, the hardened pugilists made taking blows sound routine. ôIÆve had a busted nose and two black eyes,ö says Los Angeleno Greg æBulldogÆ Jacobsen of Countrywide.

After the weigh-in, the audience of supporters and media was given a chance to ask the lads some questions. One lady in the crowd asked, ôThe guy on the left, can I take him back to mine?ö

The match-ups are:

Fight 1

Greg æBulldogÆ Jacobsen
Born: USA
Firm: Countrywide
Weight: 84kg


Mark æCeltic WarriorÆ Finnie
Born: Scotland
Firm: Mergermarket
Weight: 81kg

Fight 2

Maghnus æVictimizerÆ Byrne
Born: Ireland
Firm: Macquarie
Weight: 79kg


Budgie æDynamiteÆ Wright
Firm: Merrill Lynch
Weight: n/a

Fight 3

Will æthe GunnerÆ Sirret
Born: England
Firm: Interactive Brokers
Weight: 94kg


Toby æthe TornadoÆ Dodd
Firm: Cushman & Wakefield)
Weight: n/a

Fight 4

Ron æAnaesthetistÆ Rutland
Born: South Africa
Firm: Fortis Bank
Weight: 104kg


Graham æSlappinÆ Lappin
Born: India
Firm: Merrill Lynch
Weight: 100kg

Fight 5

Will æMad DogÆ Marsden
Born: England
Firm: Mergermarket
Weight: 89kg


Tony æT-BoneÆ Shaw
Born: Australia
Firm: HSBC
Weight: 85kg

Fight 6

Tobias æthe Wight RhinoÆ Bland
Born: England
Firm: Enhanced Investment Products
Weight: 109kg


Adam æKilgourÆ Upton
Born: Australia
Firm: JF Asset Management
Weight: 95.5kg
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