At the annual "Wharton vs. Law Fight Night" event Saturday night, thousands of rowdy graduate students flooded the Palestra wearing cocktail attire and cheering on the fighters.
Over the past 14 years, the Fight Night has been a "student-run amateur boxing event" to raise money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Philadelphia, according to their Facebook page. A committee of Wharton Masters of Business and Penn Law School students organize the event each year.
About 2,500 graduate students from different schools across campus filled the event. Eighteen beginner and intermediate student boxers from the Wharton School, Penn Law, and the School of Engineering competed against each other. Boxers landed jabs and punches on their opponents in an attempt to win the title for their school.
“[A] highlight was definitely watching the Law School kick some ass out there," First year Penn Law student Sam Weiss said. “There were a couple of fights that were quite contentious, and it was exciting to watch us take the win.”
Other attendees, such as first-year Wharton MBA student Jon Rosenberg, appreciated the event for its ability to bring together the two often separated groups of students.
“It’s wonderful we have this forum to build friendships, even though in the ring we are literally fighting each other," Rosenberg said.
Toffy Charupatanapongse, a master's student at the Graduate School of Education said her favorite part of the event was seeing women take to the ring.
“I was really surprised to see the female fighters and I think it’s great that we have girls out there because that sends a really important message to the Penn community,” Charupatanapongse said.
Each year, the board of Fight Night lines up an artist for an included after-party, with previous artists including Ja Rule and Yung Joc, according to the events' Facebook pages. Fight Night Co-Chair and third-year Penn Law student John Kostelnak said that this year's after-party featured the most prominent artist in the history of Fight Nights, T-Pain.
Kostelnak, who had been helping plan Fight Nights since his first year at Penn Law, said the Fight Night planning committee wanted to make the event as popular as Spring Fling by inviting well-known artists like T-Pain.
“We want to eventually be the event on campus,” Kostelnak said.
Fight Night relies on sponsorships and donations in order to fund their event, with the committee having spent over $100,000 this year. Kostelnak said they reached out to many more sponsors in order to make this Fight Night unique, such as Goldman Sachs, Proskauer Rose LLP, a law firm that Kostelnak works at, and SoFi, a personal finance company that assists with student loans.
Kostelnak said the short amount of time committee members spend studying at Penn makes it difficult to build relationships with sponsors and scale the event up, which made it the focus for this year’s organizing committee. According to Kostelnak, an average Penn Law degree is about three years. According to their website, the Wharton MBA program is less than two years.
Kostelnak added that this year’s event was the the most expensive to organize compared with other Fight Nights in the past. However, he added that the Fight Night committee sold more tickets than ever before. The VIP and Premium tickets sold out the fastest in the history of Fight Nights, according to the event's Facebook page.
Kostelnak said that although they have not calculated final numbers for this year, he said that they raised over $65,000 last year. He added that the committee's goal for this year is to raise over $70,000.
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