Executive Fight Night is an annual charity boxing event held at Grand Hyatt Tokyo. More than 50 participants tried out for EFN IX — many with no prior fighting experience. 18 made the cut and trained for 12 tough weeks before stepping into the ring.
“[I want] to fight like a professional and raise as much money as possible for the kids.” — Vinh Tran.
“I have been wanting to do EFN since it started but have always been nervous. After having my second child, I felt like I need something that challenged me on a personal level … I love boxing and kickboxing for fitness, but this is the first time I am getting into the ring.” — Elana Gilbert
The lineup is an international affair, with five Brits, four Americans, three Japanese, two Australians, a Kiwi, a Canadian, an Israeli and a Papua New Guinean making the final cut, and all the fighters are fully focused on the bigger fight — their own personal glory being second to what they hope they can achieve via donations.
The contenders are local professionals working in varying industries such as law, IT, finance, to name a few, who have undertaken the challenge of an intense training program to help raise money for a good cause.
The contenders were whittled down over the initial weeks under the watchful eye of Club 360 owner Nathan Schmid and Head Combat Coach Brian McGrath, who is the current holder of the J-Network and WPMF Japan Light Heavyweight titles in kickboxing.
“The most difficult thing this year, actually, is getting everyone to slow down and not punch their training partners too hard. Everyone is very athletic and competitive.” — Brian McGrath.
“The metaphor of the fighters in the ring representing our kids fighting through their personal treatments is powerful. Everyone in life has to fight at one time or another. The battles are different, but as humans, we all have challenges we have to overcome.” — SOK co-founder Kimberly Forsythe-Ferris.
EFN IX participant Elana Gilbert training at Club 360.
Jackie Alexander will be taking part in EFN for the second time.
Derek Simmons took part in EFN V, but doesn’t feel his previous experience gives him a particular edge.
“Despite my coaches' best efforts, I can't really box. But I can definitely punch, so I'll stick to doing that on the big night.” — Derek Simmons.