HOLR was lucky enough to be present at the annual Agency Wars this past November. It is the eighth year that agency wars has raised money for various great causes via a night of mingling, networking, and watching staff from Toronto’s most respected agencies go three rounds in the ring. After 12 weeks of rigorous training, the fighters were more than eager to put their skills to the test in front of their family, coworkers and friends.
We were eager to interview the fighters who sacrificed indulgence, and put in hours of hard work for Movember.
Meet Robert Baral from Mediacom and Mike Macinnis from Tantrum Studio
Tell me about your agencies?
I’ve been at mediacom for 3 months now, I was actually competing in agency wars before but swapped over once I made the switch in jobs. Mediacom is great, big agency.
I’ve been with Tantrum for about 8 years. They were very eager to help me out with this experience and they supported me every step of the way. We create visuals online, television and film that focuses around vfx and 3D content.
What are your boxing names?
Kid Kodiak – I love Grizzly Bears. It just fit.
Boxcar Bob, I don’t know I’m just a scrappy boxcar fighter…that’s how I like it.
Yeah, you’re so scrappy.
I know, I’m the most scrappy.
Did you guys know each other before this?
No! I knew no one on this team. We’re definitely hanging out beyond this. I love this team. Once you go through such intense training, you get close with everyone.
Were you guys into fitness and hard workouts before this?
I was into working out before this but nothing this intense at all.
Yeah, I ran and did all that stuff. I was healthy, but this was next level. You’d be down on the ground feeling dead, but you’d have to keep going. The thing is, that’s where you peak and that’s where you get to be your best self.
How do you guys feel representing movember?
I love the cause, I’ve done it pretty much every year but we couldn’t grow out our stashes this year.
I haven‘t shaved in 6 years, so my fiancé has never seen me shaved. It was a weird feeling, but it‘s for such a great cause, it was well worth it.
What were you feeling before you got in the ring and directly after your fight ended?
As I was one of the last fighters of the night, I had to sit for a really long time dwelling on what was about to happen. To be honest, it was a crazy combination of nerves, stress, adrenaline, excitement, and anxiety. It’s 3 months of training, compromises, dedication, exhaustion for 6 minutes.
After the fight there was nothing. I don’t think I’ve ever been so mentality, and physically exhausted in my life. I saw flashes of friends, family and fans, and just wanted to get out to a quiet, peaceful area. The next 30 minutes were a blur. It took me a while to come down from the fight high.
Before the fight, like standing backstage waiting to walk out was the more overwhelming part of the experience. Knowing that there was no backing out, you have to go through with this.
It makes you feel a little sick. But as your announced and walking into the studio/ring, you start to get really pumped up. All that worry and fear is gone. You just focus on you and your opponent.
Directly after the fight, personally I was ecstatic. All those weeks of training, making it to this day paid off. Winning of loosing, you’re happy going through it all just for those couple minutes.
Meet Trainer Sara Haghighat-joo
Tell us a bit about yourself and how you got here?
Well I’ve been boxing for about 6 years. I’m currently on the national team at 54 Kilograms. This year I’ve travelled to Sweden, Ireland, Bulgaria, Hondura where I placed second- it’s my first time on the national team and so far I’ve been doing really well. I’m tied at 18th in the world right now, and I’m working towards the 2020 Olympics.
Is this your first year with Agency Wars?
It is! Mandy is a good friend of mine and she trains with us. She’s currently in Montreal for boxing and I’m her assistant. She was very busy but I was more than willing to help her out with this great opportunity.
How was it training people who have never boxed before?
It was so weird, and knowing they only had 3 months to do this? Insane! Cause I personally boxed for a year before I got in the ring. Also, for them to be adults in front of such a big audience, it was crazy but we got it done and we won!
What brought you into boxing in the first place 8 years ago?
I played a lot of sports in high school but I started to really grow out of team sports. Every time someone would lose they’d but okay with it, but my competitive nature was “no, screw that”. In my senior year my coach had switched and the new one started to bench me a lot, so I quit. By then I got into boxing because my brother was already attending a club regularly. That was when I was sixteen and it’s been going strong ever since.
Do you have a boxing name?
I just got one actually. Mandy chose it. It’s ‘She Be Stringin’
What was the most rewarding part being involved in Agency Wars?
Seeing them perform and overcoming all their obstacles. All the injuries they came across thinking that they couldn’t do this. And today, seeing them so calm through weigh-ins and stepping into that ring. It was really rewarding to see.
Meet Jonathan Guy from COSSETTE
What is your fighter name?
Well my last name is Guy, so my fighter name was “you should see the other..” I can’t take credit for it, we had a work function one night and someone threw it out there.
Tell us about your agency?
Cossette, an advertising agency in beautiful Liberty Village. We just won agency of the year last week for the second year in a row. It’s a great place to work with tons of great people. I work in the creative department as an associate creative director.
Why did you want to get involved in Agency Wars?
It kinda just happened. My Dad likes boxing and because of that I’ve always been a distant fan. I’d go to watch it with him, and that’s what sparked my interest to get involved.
So big question for you, how does it feel dishing out the first knockout in agency wars history?
Pretty surprising. My biggest fear tonight was running out of gas because in sparring I was gassing out a lot. I had no idea that was going to happen. He went down and immediately turned over on his hands and knees. I was like “oh no, he’s going to get right back up”. That was everything I had, I wouldn’t have known what to do if he had gotten back up. I just heard he’s ok so that’s good to hear.
How was training?
If I’ll be honest, brutal.
Have you ever done anything that intense before?
Hmmm, no I haven’t. Don’t get me wrong I used to be very active, but nothing like this.
Other than Kristina’s and the rest of the team’s faith in you, what was motivating you the most throughout this process?
Don’t lose. One of the trainers at the gym, Kevin, said “don’t go into a fight thinking you don’t want to lose. Go into a fight thinking ‘I’m gunna win'”. It was good advice and it makes sense but I still couldn’t help thinking “don’t lose”!
Until next year!