With 32 different men and women stepping into the ring for the first time on May 15th, 2019 you can imagine there must be a lot of nerves and emotions swirling around. Excitement, fear, anticipation, hope, dread, the list goes on. They all have someone they are fighting for, they all have individual things driving them. Their lives have all been touched by cancer in some way. As fight night is approaching get an inside look as to what motivates these brave men and women who are stepping in the ring to literally knock out cancer.

Crandon Leahy

I have had a few family members and close friends battle cancer and I have seen the strength it takes to fight through it. I hope to match a small percentage of that in this journey.Crandon Leahy

Dan Findley

Cancer affects everyone. Personally, I have not battled cancer, however I have friends and family who have. I am fighting for them, but I am also fighting for the millions of people who are battling, have battled, and will battle this disease.Dan Findley

Mike Boles

My grandfather passed away from Leukemia in 2005. He was a pilot in the Royal Air Force during WWll and spent his 18th through 21st birthdays in a German POW camp after being shot down. He survived those horrible conditions and terrible odds flying a bomber during WWll but it was cancer that got him. Even though he lived a full life passing at the age of 83, I couldn’t help but be pissed off that cancer took him from us because he was still so with it and active. He definitely had a few fun years left to spend with us.Mike Boles

Derek Skapars

Lost my brother to lung cancer in 2005.Derek Skapars

Stephen Berte

So in December of 2017, I lost my dear friend, mentor and colleague, Bill to a near 10 year battle with cancer. Bill was the most influential person in my adult life. We worked so closely together and were such dear friends that I felt like I walked this journey with him. I was absolutely devastated when he passed.

My dad lost his year long battle with cancer in September of 2018. His decline happened so quickly and the experience was very different however the devastation was the same. I lost the two most influential men in my life to this disease within 10 months. I fight so that my two boys and Bill’s children’s children do not have to experience what this past year of devastation has been like for us.Stephen Berte


The advances made in cancer research over the past two decades are incredible. My mom, dad and aunt were fortunate enough to fight and beat cancer. My uncle passed when I was younger. My dad once told me that someday cancer isn't going to be able to take anyone's life. I want to do my part to ensure such.Bobby O’Brien


I watched others in my gym train in 2018 and thought I was lucky that I hadn't had anyone close to me affected by the disease. Then within a few weeks a close co-worker was diagnosed, a friend's mother passed after a long battle with it, and another friend told me about how they had been in remission for almost 20 years. It made me want to do something so that hopefully in time, cures can be found and others won't have to go through the same experiences. To me, this competition literally embodies the battle against cancer and I hope that my journey can honor the sacrifices of the people I know personally have battled it, and inspire strength and motivation for others to help find a cure.James Arredondo

David Purdy

I draw inspiration from those who have fought and continue to fight their own battle. Too many of my family and friends have been impacted to list them here. Yet, each one inspires me in their own way. Cancer has provided me with some of the worst lows and the most amazing highs of my life. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy, but am a better person for having been impacted by it. The committed Doctors, nurses and administrators of Dana Farber are the ultimate inspiration and need our support.David Purdy

Conor Harris

I've lost both my grandmothers to cancer. My paternal grandmother, whom we called Ging, always encouraged us to engage in life - she would tell us to "do at least three active things a day." So I can't think of a better way to honor her than to get active by training for this fight against cancer.Conor Harris


I’m fighting for my two friends who both recently lost their moms to breast cancer. If our team fundraising efforts are able to help give someone even one more day with a loved one, it’ll all be worth it.Jay Driscoll

Vanessa Baca

Why am I fighting? For my mom. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 and took the immediate step of getting surgery. The day after her surgery, she went to go see my youngest brother off to his senior prom – she wasn’t going to miss it! Today, she is cancer free and still the strongest person I know. I'm also fighting for everyone else who is affected by this horrible disease.Vanessa Baca

Jim Norcott

My biggest inspirations are my two grandmothers who have each fought and won multiple battles with cancer. Their perseverance and strength can’t be matched but I’m going to try!Jim Norcott

Mike O'Malley

I have been extremely fortunate that I have not lost any immediate family members or close friends to cancer, yet. However, people close to me have recently lost loved ones or have family and friends battling the disease. The past few months have been overwhelming with the number of new incidences we have heard of.Mike O’Malley

Jon Pastor

I have many avenues of motivation and inspiration. I’ve been involved with the Jimmy Fund Walk for a couple years leading our corporate team supporting coworkers, JF Hero’s, and family/friends. This falls right in line. Nothing I’m going to go through is anywhere close to the battle those affected by cancer endure. With that said;  Denise Kotlik, Cam Conley, my Uncle, Godfather, friends, family, and colleagues drive me to jump in the ring and punch cancer in the face. - Jon Pastor

Chuck McCallum

I fight for my father and mother and my mother in law who all fought cancer.  I also fight for my two brothers now in remission and all my other family members and friends who fought the battle with cancer... sometimes winning, sometimes not.Chuck McCallum


I'm fighting because I love to compete, challenge others, and challenge myself. I grew up next to two absolute monsters (6'8" plus) so I've been in plenty of scraps. In my opinion it's the purest form of competition. What better way to push your limits? And if we can do this for an actually terrific cause, what could be better?

Cancer has hung over me for almost my entire life. Both my grandfathers were apparently amazing people, though I'll just have to take everyone's word for it. I'll never know since they both died of cancer before I was born. I vividly remember first asking my parents where my grandads were. I'm sure telling me they were gone was a very hard moment for them. Then when I was 12 my grandmother contracted brain cancer and eventually succumbed after a year-long struggle. Then in my freshman year of college my best friend's father was diagnosed with cancer and eventually lost his fight after a year+ struggle. He was really a second father to me, so that was extremely hard.

However, the thing that really brought this home for me was when my wife had a scare with cancer this summer. She's fine, so we dodged that bullet. But sitting in that waiting room amongst all the other people who were in the midst of their fights was unbelievably frightening. And it also made me realize how lucky I've been not to be impacted by this disease more. Few things could have been more motivating. While I've been lucky, that does not absolve me from taking action. When there is a problem of this magnitude it is incumbent upon everyone to act. This is my way to contribute to this fight. – Will Clark

Andy Fuller

I am fighting because I've seen what cancer does to a person, a family, a community.  Stepping into the ring and raising money to find a cure for cancer so that no one else has to suffer seems like a miniscule contribution but if in some small way it helps then it is all worth it.  I fight for my stepdad, Butch Mondazzi, my uncle, Steve Penque and my friend's 2 year old daughter, Kennedy Ross because they all had this horrible disease and made an impact on my life. Andy Fuller

Adam Moulter

My motivation for knocking out cancer is simple: Family. Cancer has had too large of a role in the story of my family, with all 4 of my grandparents battling the disease at least once and my father fighting, and thankfully beating, esophageal cancer a few years ago. My Dad and family have shown that giving up isn’t an option, and that there is no throwing in the towel when everything is on the line - they never quit in their fights, no matter how tough it got.

They didn’t give up and, come May 15th, neither will I. No matter who I’m standing across the ring from, I will bite down on my mouthpiece, unleash everything I have, and not quit until the job is done. – Adam Moulter

Matt Caple

We've all been affected by cancer. My cousin, Pete, is now the 4th in our family to fight colon cancer and is doing so a year after losing his Mom to the same disease. I'm honored to participate in Haymakers Rock 'N Rumble IX in support of the nurses, doctors and researchers working to find a cure at Dana-Farber. Help K.O. cancer by donating here.Matt Caple


There are people with similar stories to mine and harsher who have to deal with cancer either within themselves or the ones they love.  My best friend's mother Maria, who has treated me like family over the years is currently recovering from bladder cancer. I am here to fight in her name and the ones who sometimes do not have the opportunity to fight given their circumstances. It is Maria's wish that people know bladder cancer can be a consequence of second hand smoking.  She would also like anyone listening to understand how important advocacy, support, and family are during such a difficult process.  

I have yet to know someone who does not have a loved one affected by cancer in some way.  No fight is too small, no heart can be too big. – Neil Whittredge


I fight for innovation to KO cancer.  I am grateful to those who discovered and developed the precise and powerful treatments that knocked cancer out of two close family members.  I am fighting to raise money to support the next discoveries, new ideas, and novel therapies so we have the power to knock out cancer wherever it may appear.Robert Sahr


I am training hard everyday to do my part to knock out this awful disease but it’s nothing compared to what those who personally battle cancer go through.  I fight for my family members, friends, family members of friends.  I fight for my Dad, my wife-Janet,  my in-laws and so many more.  We can end this together! – Jay Hajj

Jon Passeri

One in three people will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  Cancer affects us all - not only the person with the disease, but also family and friends.  It takes a huge physical and mental toll and stretches our emotional resources.  

More than 15 years ago, my sister was diagnosed with breast cancer.  Like so many others who have had cancer, she has been poked and prodded, been through every kind of medical test imaginable, had surgeries, been irradiated, and had to take toxic drugs.  There have been emotional highs and lows, moments of breathing easy, and moments getting punched in the gut.  Through it all, she has done everything possible to live a great life.  She is successful at her job, is a great wife to the most supportive guy in the world, is an awesome mom to two fantastic boys, is a wonderful sister and daughter, and a generally great friend to so many people.  She is an inspiration to everyone around her. 

I am stepping into the ring on May 15th for her and all the other people in my life who have been affected by cancer, to fight back against this terrible disease.  As a physician myself, I know what it takes for new, life-saving therapies to be developed.  I am asking for everyone's help to raise as much money as possible to knock out cancer.  

I will train and fight as hard as I can for Christine, for Ed, for Roger, and for so many others. – Jon Passeri

Jesse Nadhavan

I fight because cancer is everywhere, and I want to put it down permanently.

I have spent my entire career in the biotech and pharmaceuticals space, and I have seen first hand the effort, resources, and risk necessary to tackle cancer research. I understand that cancer research is ultimately a culmination of all the successes and failures that are experienced in both private industry, academia, and non-profits. With every effort, and every dollar raised, we're inching towards a cure or at the very least more sustainable and effective forms of treatment. 

So screw cancer. I'm fighting to end it, and I have nothing but "bad intentions". – Jesse Nandhavan


Haymakers For Hope gives everyday men and women like me the opportunity to fight back against this terrible disease by training for, and competing in charity boxing events to raise money and awareness. I myself was diagnosed with cancer this past Summer.  I then underwent surgery, and with continued monitoring for the next few years, I will be 100% out of the woods before we know it.  I have also dabbled in the sport of boxing since I was a young'n - mainly by viewing training videos such as Raging Bull, Gladiator (ca.1992), and all the Rocky movies...  This Reppucci trivia, combined with the unfortunate fact that many of us have been seriously impacted at some point by having close friends or family suffer from cancer, inspired me to throw my hat in the ring and literally fight for a cure!Kevin Reppucci