A sold-out boxing charity event raised nearly a million dollars for cancer prevention Thursday night at Best Buy Theater in New York City. Organized by the non-profit organization Haymakers for Hope, the unique spectacle featured 15 fast-paced fights, pitting a variety of business professionals against one other in an effort to punch out cancer.
“It’s been a grueling training program and the fighters have done an amazing job,” said co-founder Andrew Myerson “Some people have done two-a-days every day, so I’m proud of everyone. It’s amazing for us to see the culmination of their training journey.“
Founded in 2011, Haymakers for Hope raised $630,000 for cancer research in what was their third New York City event; the next charity showcase is scheduled for May 2015 in Boston. To date, Haymakers for Hope has raised more than $3 million dollars for cancer prevention, research, and awareness.
During pre-fight vignettes, the in-ring warriors dedicated their bouts to loved ones who have been affected by cancer, a notion the charity was founded upon. A two-time Golden Gloves champion, co-founder Julie Anne Kelly is a survivor of Hodgkins lymphoma, and one of Myerson’s best friends growing up passed away before they were 20 years old.
Both former fighters, Kelly and Myerson started the foundation while training together in New York as a way for everyday working people to improve their own fitness while donating to a worthy cause.
“We realized the training timeline for boxing was very similar for running a marathon, about four months,” said Myerson. “We thought, ‘Why don’t we see if we can raise money for a good cause while we’re training because if people are doing it for marathons, why can’t we do it for boxing?'"
For a spot on the white-collar brawling card, sign up on the Haymakers for Hope website during open registration periods and the team will let you know what they can arrange.
Once selected, the fighters go through a 4-month training program to prepare for what in many cases is their first-ever boxing match.
“We get them involved with a gym and trainer and check their progress every week, making sure they’re progressing at the same pace so it’s a great fight,” said Myerson. “At the 2-month mark, we have each fighter spar their opponent. We want to make sure there is full transparency about what they’re doing and we want them to have an amazing time.”
Among the crowd of 1,200 family members, friends, volunteers, training partners, coworkers, and fight-night lovers, there was enough raucous hollering to make you forget that the well-dressed audience were ticket buyers, some who bid thousands of dollars in the event’s silent philanthropic auction.
“We always joke that we vastly underestimate how much people want to see their friends get punched in the face," said Myerson.