Posts tagged Fight for Children

Fight Night 2013: Slow Start, Strong Finish

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Photos by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

WASHINGTON, D.C.—For over 20 years, Fight Night at the Washington Hilton has meant a night of champions, cigar smoke, ball gowns and black eyes. The black-tie fundraiser for Fight for Children is one of the pillars of the Washington, D.C. social scene, especially if you’re the kind of guy that owns a tux and a humidor.

But the death of Fight Night founder Joe Robert after the 2011 event meant a shakeup was inevitable. That came to fruition this year, as Under Armour founder Kevin Plank (below left) took over as chair, and brought his corporate branding muscle with him.

Like many in the local sports community, I feared the change may diminish what has become one of my favorite Washington rituals. The initial signs weren’t great. New restrictions on the media chafed many longtime attendees among the local fight press, and the cocktail hour featured a noticeable delineation between the most generous donors and the merely well-heeled. The early portion of the program was loud, brash, and a little douchey, keeping in line with the brand that has turned Mr. Plank into a billionaire.

But regardless of what you think of Mr. Plank’s approach, it’s hard to dispute his results. That became crystal clear as the evening raised an astounding $4 million to help educate impoverished children in the District.

Those of us who chose persistence over skepticism were eventually rewarded as well; thanks to the lovely ladies of Qorvis Communications, Stiff Jab was the only boxing outlet allowed to remain in the ballroom during the event to cover the fights. As a result, we are proud to say the fight report below is an exclusive, and the only account of these bouts you are likely to find.

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Preview: Jerry Forrest Returns At Fight Night 2012

Photos by Gautham Nagesh for StiffJab.com

by Gautham Nagesh

Thursday marks one of my favorite events of the year: Fight Night 2012 at the Washington Hilton, which benefits Fight for Children. This will be my third year covering the black tie event, and the first I won’t have to pull double duty for The Hill. Fortunately, that means I’ll be able to devote my full attention to covering the best fight card they’ve had in recent memory.

The main event was supposed to pit Arlington junior welterweight Bayan Jargal against Lonnie “El Negro Mexicano” Smith, but Smith has reportedly gone AWOL. Jargal is still scheduled to fight, likely against the kind of short-notice opposition that shouldn’t pose too much trouble. The Mongolian native has a granite chin and plenty of heart, but lost three straight fights before taking almost a year off and returning with a win earlier this month. Hopefully he spent that time in the gym refining his offense, rather than soul-searching.

More exciting for our readers is the news both light heavyweight Greg Newby of the Lime Lite All-Stars and heavyweight Jerry Forrest will fight for the second time professionally. Newby will take on Baltimore’s Tacuna Farmer, who is making his pro debut, while Forrest will face the 3-0-1 (3 KOs) Brice Ritani of Las Vegas. Newby has had a couple fights fall through lately, while Forrest’s difficulty finding opponents is well-documented. Nothing is guaranteed is boxing, but Fight Night is about as first-class as such events get. Hopefully the fights will take place, even though in truth, the crowd barely notices.

Met Smokin’ Joe Frazier and “The Raging Bull” Jake LaMotta Thursday while covering Fight Night 2010 for The Hill at the Washington Hilton.