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Society / The Seen

White Collar Boxing Hits Houston as Fight Night Meets High Society in an Intense Million Dollar Night

Executives Slug it Out in the Ring (No, Really)

BY // 09.23.18
photography Jacob Power, Michelle Watson/CatchlightGroup.com

Boxing gloves and cocktail dresses, which have about as much in common as Walmart and Prada, wed Thursday night in a million dollar fundraiser that saw 24 otherwise sane, white collar gents hit the ring with fists raised.

It was a spectacular night at The Revaire for the Children’s Assessment Center which was beneficiary of the “Knock Out Child Abuse” dinner evening. Taking bows for the unprecedented, testosterone-infused success were chairs Ursaline Hamilton and Jordan Seff, whose husband was one of the boxers.

Vitol‘s co-head of trading for the Americas Dylan Seff  joined the stable of oil and gas honchos, energy traders and commodity brokers who volunteered for three-round fights in front of the chichi crowd of more than 650.

Fists flew and fancy footwork was displayed as the amateur pugilists tested their skills after training for four months with former heavyweight champion Lou Savarese.  While one might worry about broken noses and split chins, Savarese says that precautions were taken.

“We are using special heavy gloves that are 22-ounce and all of the guys are wearing headgear,” he says. “Before they start sparring, we always emphasize that this is a charity event and we want them to be competitive but not go overboard.” In fact, when the punching grew too enthusiastic, Savarese halted the match before the final bell.

Despite the beyond-worthy cause behind the fundraising, one might wonder what was driving these guys.

“I am a risk taker, so I use those skills and translate them to what may help me in boxing,” explains Eric Dixon of SOCAR Trading North America. “Being in the trading profession, I look at the ring as a market place, where there are rules and boundaries, a starting bell and a closing bell. The opponent represents the chaos of real time pricing in a way, as it is constantly changing and moving.”

As Macquarie‘s Brent Pickette noted of his participation, “It’s a great way to get in shape, meet some really good people and raise money for a worthy cause.  Why box? I guess it’s like sky diving or any other slightly crazy experience.”

He did note, however, that with his “pretty big beak” he had a close friend and nose doctor sitting at his table. “I thought she might come in handy,” he quipped.

By night’s end boxer Tom O’Grady of Freepoint Commodities received the grand prize for raising the most funds. He was followed by Dixon and Seff, who raised a combined $100,000. Each received belts and medals form the World Boxing Council. See profiles of all the boxers here.

Joining Savarese in the fundraiser’s orchestration was B&B Butchers’ Benjamin Berg, who provided the filet mignon feast. The two had joined forces with Savarese’s “Black-Tie Boxing” in 2017.

Highlight of the night was the llth hour contribution of $68,000 from an anonymous donor, who made the pledge in order to push the total of funds raised to the $1 million goal. Reports are that funds are still coming in.

Ring side seats: CAC executive director Elaine Stolte, Megan and Bryan Cushing, Lucinda and Javier Loya, Lisa and John Oren, Amanda Boffone, Stephanie Perkins, Natalie and Steve Mohtashami, Monica Berg, Benita and Chris Land, Erika Bagwell, Alex and James Ballengee, and Marissa and Kailee Wong.

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