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HONG KONG (Reuters) - It was the kind of opportunity loss-stricken investors probably longed for during the worst months of the financial crisis: putting a group of hedge fund managers in a boxing ring and pummeling them.
But the mood at the recent fifth annual hedge fund "Fight Night" in Hong Kong was exuberant, with managers and executives slugging it out to raise money for charity.
Twelve contenders, none of whom had ever donned boxing gloves before, had signed up to fight and began rigorous training in July. This year, women were allowed to compete.
At the clang of the bell, two fighters lunged to the center of a boxing ring, dancing and weaving as they landed punches. Spectators, most in white shirts with neckties -- and some in black tie -- cheered and booed.
"It's a physical challenge, it's a mental challenge, it really is an ultimate challenge, to be honest," said Neil "Hands of Steel" Bullock from Sterling Search, who was named best fighter of the night.
Refereeing and judging was provided by the Hong Kong police, who were affiliated with one of the highlighted charities.
For the women's bout, a male ring boy in underwear paraded around the ring holding up the round number on cards.
"It's been five months of no drinking, five months of no social life - just training six to eight times a week. I'm obviously happy but I'm relieved I can get some semblance of a social life back," said Tricia "The Bull" Yap from PricewaterhouseCoopers, after she won her fight.
She was, she added, delighted to have lost 8 kg (17.6 lbs) through training before her upcoming wedding.
The event raised about HK$1 million ($129,000).
($1 = 7.780 Hong Kong Dollars)
Writing by Elaine Lies, editing by Jonathan Thatcher