Shado Baker
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How one Hong Kong banker trained for a prize fight

Steve Friel looks like any other finance professional rushing to work in the morning. But when he leaves the office at night, he trades his suit for a pair of boxing gloves -- all in preparation for the fight of his life.

Friel is one of the dozens of Hong Kong-based professionals who have trained rigorously for a chance to fight in front of hundreds of cheering, boozing friends at "Hedge Fund Fight Nite," a black-tie charity fundraiser where the night's entertainment is watching bankers knock each other around.

White-collar boxing has exploded in popularity in global financial hubs including Singapore and London since getting its start decades ago at Gleason's Gym in Brooklyn.

"It's a big endorphin kick, even if you get hit in the face," said Friel, marketing director at fund manager Asia Frontier Investments. "You have to remember, 'oh, that's what I signed up for.' "

On the big night, Friel, nicknamed the "Ginger Ninja," is among the final 16 pugilists. He's got three two-minute rounds to pulverize his opponent, Will "Tyrannosaurus" Jefferies, a vice president at the Bank of New York Mellon.

Friel prepping at a training session.