Wednesday, November 25th, 2015

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Young Wall Street Traders Fight for Charity in the Ring

On October 22nd, the Dow dropped a record 500 points and the NASDAQ hit a 5-year low. Ongoing fears of a global recession, tumbling oil prices, weak corporate earnings and disappointing jobless numbers all played into the jittery markets that week. The next day, the Dow rallied, finishing 2% higher as Wall Street fought to regain big losses on the trading floor. But hours after the closing bell, they would fight once more, this time for charity in the ring at the Wall Street Boxing Championship.

Trader Monthly magazine hosted the second annual fundraiser at the Hammerstein Ballroom. The usual concert venue was set up for the black-tie gala benefiting Tuesday’s Children, which supports families affected by the 9/11 attacks, and the Agahozo Shalom Youth Village in Rwanda. As entry- to mid-level Wall Streeters represented their firms in the fighting ring, over 750 traders, hedge fund managers, and bankers dined at ringside tables. The rowdy crowd applauded their colleagues with the same fervor that overtakes the NYSE during a massive sell-off.

For the spectators, it was enough to make them forget reeling markets awaiting them the next trading day. But for the young financiers, this was the main event that took months of training at Trinity Boxing, the legendary white-collar gym in downtown Manhattan. For Copper River Management’s Andre Ameer, this meant reorganizing his priorities.

“I really buckled down.  I was running every morning at 5:30, heading to work, leaving the office around 5:30 pm, and spending about 2 hours at Trinity a night.  That was Monday through Friday.  Saturday mornings we’d have group workouts,” said the 29-year old Ameer. Evan Odim,  of Citigroup, who won against Tim Nersten of Liquidnet via TKO, also underwent similar sacrifices. “I don’t know how many times I had to turn down friends and colleagues at the chance to go out for drinks,” said the 28-year old credit trader. “The current market conditions only made things worse.”

Wall Street Traders Boxing

Ameer lost the Wall Street Boxing Summer Showdown in June but made his big comeback this time around as judges voted him the Best Boxer. After defeating Cantor Fitzgerald’s Patrick Mitchell, both opponents won Best Bout of the night. 


The training regimen tested their physical rigor and affected their social lives. But their career came into play as they saw the parallels between throwing jabs and managing stock portfolios. “In both games you have to be able to move quickly, make decisions on the fly, and be able to get beat up and bounce back.  If you get too emotional, you’ll lose your focus and lose the fight,” said Ameer.

This fighting spirit is exactly what keeps these young traders going despite the doom and gloom headlines about massive layoffs in the financial sector. “It’s tough, but the minute I start to think of a second career choice, that’s the minute I feel like a beaten man,” said Odim. Instead of jumping ship, he says the young workforce must seek advice and guidance from mentors. For Odim, much can be learned from the experienced generations of Wall Street who survived Black Monday of 1987, the Dotcom Crash spurred during the late nineties, and the stock markets reopening after 9/11. He added he’d rather ride this tumultuous wave hands-on than learn from an MBA textbook.   

The fighters realized they won more than bragging rights in the industry’s social circles. “I think I gained some new found respect from my fellow colleagues. Talking a big game is one thing, but to actually get in the ring and fight is another,” said Odim. According to Ameer, it not only built him higher esteem from top-tier management, it also formed stronger bonds among his business peers. “These last 6 months have opened me up to a group of guys and girls who I may have never met, but could possibly end up doing business with in the future. Now I know that these are people that I can trust and share a common bond with as we’ve been through something that 99% of the people out there can never say they have: We got in the ring and win or lose, we walked out with our heads high.”

Final Outcome:

  1. Khoung Chau of Lord Abbott defeats Justin Pagan of Signature Securities by decision
  2. Ben Sadgrove of Tradeview Forex defeats Will Brazier of Tradeview Forex by TKO, 3rd round
  3.  Ricky Smith of BGC Partners defeats Devin Darcangelo of Morgan Stanley by decision
  4.  Bill Monzolillo of Deutsche Bank defeats Andrew Regen of Hedgeserv by TKO, 2nd round
  5.  Craig Capurso of NYMEX defeats Ken Cunningham of Oppenheimer by TKO, 2nd round
  6.  Cecilia Aza of MSCI defeats Kelly Vergamini ICAP by decision
  7. Andre Ameer of Copper River Management defeats Patrick Mitchell of Cantor Fitzgerald by decision
  8. Evan Odim of Citigroup defeats Tim Nersten of Liquidnet by TKO, 1st round

Photos by:  Jimmy Petrozzello

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