News & Politics

PHOTOS: Fight Night: The Final Round

Senator Mark Warner and Fox News Chief Political Anchor Bret Baier pose with the Washington Nationals' World Series Commissioner's Trophy at the final Fight Night celebration.
Dan About Town

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Party photographer Dan Swartz’s diary of bashes, benefits, and galas.

After some 30 years, Fight For Children‘s signature annual fall fundraiser, Fight Night, threw its last punch on Thursday evening, with a blowout final bash that packed the ballroom of the Washington Hilton hotel.

Since its inception in 1990, Fight Night has raised approximately $70 million for underserved children in the DC region. The nonprofit’s mandate is to ensure access to quality early childhood education and to improve academic achievement in K-12 schools.

Founder Joe Robert, Jr., who passed away in 2011 from brain cancer, created a juggernaut over the years that drew thousands of the city’s notables. The evening basically sold itself (at a hefty $5,000/pp ticket price no less) by combining a championship boxing bout with a swanky dinner and popular musical performance.

Senators, governors, billionaire CEOs, and stars of film and television all made appearances.  John Legend performed in 2013, for example, thanks to Under Armour Founder & CEO Kevin Plank, who served as event chair that year.  And years before the blockbuster film Black Panther made actor Michael B. Jordan a household name, he and director Ryan Coogler could be spotted ringside in D.C. in 2015 promoting their first collaboration, Creed, which successfully rebooted the Rocky franchise.

Many of the iconic elements from past years that helped make Fight Night so memorable returned last night for a final round, including the heaping slabs of steak served tableside, the smell of Cuban cigars permeating the room, and world-class networking.

2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick served as the headlining entertainer and didn’t disappoint as the boxing ring transformed into a makeshift concert stage, complete with thousands of cheering fans.  Leaving nothing to chance, event organizers went the extra musical mile though and also brought in Grammy-winning hip-hop group Naughty by Nature to close down the after party long past midnight.

Call it a TKO by a fun night. A fun Fight Night that is…

A championship boxing bout was held inside the ballroom of the Washington Hilton.
Actor Chris Tucker and Monumental Sports Vice Chairman Raul Fernandez.
Stars of HBO’s Ballers franchise Donovan Carter and Kris D. Lofton flank Shawna Barbeau.
Joseph E. Robert III and First Washington Realty co-founder Bill Wolfe.
2016 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Cheap Trick performed.
Dr. Kurt Newman, Children’s National President & CEO, Squire Patton Boggs Partner J.R. Clark, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser, and Robert Newman.
Fight Night table settings.
Michelin-starred Chef Nicholas Stefanelli, FedEx Senior Vice President for Government Affairs Gina Adams, and Yebbie Watkins, Chief of Staff to Majority Whip James Clyburn.
Andrea Mucino and Washington Nationals broadcaster F.P. Santangelo.
Longtime Fight Night producer James Gibson is surrounded by mascots and dancers from various DC teams.
The Washington Redskins Cheerleaders performed one last routine and signed calendars for fans during the event.
Boxing champion Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, famed ring announcer Michael Buffer, and Fight For Children Chairman of the Board David Fensterheim.
Members of Fight Night’s final team of hostesses pose at the start of the evening.
Jarred Zuccari, Alan Zuccari, Jason Zuccari, and Scott Stewart.
Stephen Kae, Uri Sanchez, and Nayef Issa.
The Fight Night logo was projected onto the side of the Washington Hilton for the occasion.
Sergeant Chester Nash and Sergeant Zachary Carver playfully spar with Alina Kirillina.
W&H Realty Group Managing Partner Jason Wiles, Empire Consulting Group Managing Partner Chaka Burgess, Ramon Richards, ESPN’s Marcus Matthews, MGM National Harbor Director of Communications Malik Husser, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center’s Dr. Aubrey Verdun, and Northwestern Mutual Financial Advisor James Brown III.
The prized steak dinner featured at Fight Night.
Mike Manatos and Stephen Whisnant.
Championship boxing naturally takes center stage at Fight Night.
Marcus Goodwin and Vinoda Basnayake.
Danica Oak, Amanda Haney, and Breanna Oak.
Charlotte Zink and Michael Brooks.
Grammy-winning hip-hop group Naughty by Nature was the surprise music performer during the afterparty.