White-collars, black eyes

Updated: 2013-12-15 09:45

By Eric Jou (China Daily)

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White-collars, black eyes

Photo by Fan Zhen / China Daily

The matches benefit a Shanghai nonprofit called Leo's Foundation, founded by Scott and Cecile Spirit, organizer and co-founder Shane Benis says.

"They had premature babies in 2008," he explains. "They were cared for in Fudan University's Children Hospital's neo-intensive care unit, and they caught wind that some families couldn't afford the healthcare. So they started a foundation to help pay for the care of premature babies."

White Collar Boxing has donated more than $200,000 to the charity, also known as the Foundation for Newborns with Respiratory Failure, its website says. Benis and WCBC are now working to found a similar foundation in Beijing.

While the events are bilingual, the proportion of local fighters is in the single digits. But many overseas Chinese participate.

"Amateur boxing in China is a powerhouse," Benis says. "They train two or three hours in the morning, two or three in the evening. They don't' even go to school."

However, "Boxing in China, in terms of following and general participation, is in its infancy".

Bob Arum, CEO and founder of globally leading boxing-promotion company Top Rank, says the pastime was popular in the country but was banned following New China's 1949 founding. That carved away much of its fan base, he says.

Arum believes boxing is poised for a renewal in China with the recent rise of such domestic fighters as Zou Shiming.

"We believe there is a hunger for boxing," Arum says.

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