Wharton Students Go To Fisticuffs For Charity

Students at the Wharton vs. Penn Law Fight Night. Photo courtesy of Ikenna Ekeh

Students at the Wharton vs. Penn Law Fight Night. Photo courtesy of Ikenna Ekeh

It was fight night again in Philadelphia over this past weekend when a pair Wharton students channeled their inner-Rocky Balboas — Philadelphia’s favorite fictional son. They stepped into the ring in the 11th annual Wharton vs. Penn Law Fight Night on Saturday night (March 28) for the slugfest. The boxing match, which is considered the largest graduate school event at Penn, had four boxers representing the Boxing Club at the Wharton School and four from the Boxing Club at Penn Law. Students from the veterinarian school, nursing school and a “secret boxer” from outside Penn made up the six matches.

All told, nearly 2,000 spectators came to watch the event. All proceeds raised are donated to the Boys and Girls Club of Philadelphia. Final amounts raised will not be determined for at least a week. But second-year Wharton student and club director, Chandni Chopra, says she expects the amount to be around the same as last year’s $65,000.

“Overall the night went very well,” Chopra says. “It was a near perfect event.”

To determine the outcomes of the matches, a panel of three expert judges were present. Former professional boxer, Jacqueline Frazier teamed up with Kembrel Jones, Wharton Vice Dean of Student Life, and a trainer from a local boxing gym to determine the winners. Out of the six fights, two pitted Wharton against Penn Law. This year, the law students came out on top in both matches.


Photo courtesy of Ikenna Ekeh

Photo courtesy of Ikenna Ekeh

The matches aren’t just thrown together at the last moment. Clif Johnson has deep roots in the local boxing community and has been working with the clubs before this was even an event. Once students sign up for the clubs, they can also sign up for Fight Night. Johnson works closely with those students to train and prepare them for the night. He also pairs them off for matches based on stature and ability level.

One problem this year was Wharton had a ringer (no pun intended). Mark Shorr, a first-year MBA, fought in the National Collegiate Boxing Association on the University of Maryland Boxing team where he was an All-American. Instead of putting him up against a helpless torts-studying law student to be pummeled, Chopra and Zach Spencer, co-chair and director of the Penn Law Boxing Club, brought in the “secret boxer” to be a more exciting match. But even the that fighter proved not enough and Shorr was victorious in the evening’s final fight.

Exciting matches were what made this year stand out to Spencer, who is a former fighter himself. “The matchups were really good,” Spencer says. “The second to last fight was one of the law and Wharton matchups and there was a knockdown. It was wild. All of the fights were entertaining and everyone had a good time.”

A fighter is escorted to the rink. Photo courtesy of Ikenna Ekeh

A fighter is escorted to the rink. Photo courtesy of Ikenna Ekeh


Spencer said all of the spectators were on their feet during the entire match and it was incredibly loud in the 1923 Ice Rink, where the event was hosted on Penn’s campus. This year’s after party was hosted at the Sound Garden and featured MIMS and Chingy.

Chopra says there was also a conference for MBAs in town and many students from “other East Coast schools” were in attendance. Additionally, according to Chopra, students from other b-schools have reached out to her about starting their own boxing clubs and potentially creating a cross-school match.

Rankings, be damned, there might soon be a day when the determination of the best b-schools will be settled the true American way—in fisticuffs.


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