Fight Night: Bekim Trenova Talks Blood, Sweat, and Supermodels

We get the scoop on the underground boxing party.

By Jade Moyano

Impressing New Yorkers isn’t easy, but model and nightlife mastermind Bekim Trenova has found a way to do just that with his event Fight Night. Previously called Friday Night Throwdown, this underground boxing party that takes place at undisclosed locations around the Big Apple, incorporates models, a DJ and a tight guest list. We spoke to Trenova about how this unique party came about, what some of the most memorable moments have been thus far and when we can expect the next Fight Night.

Tells us about Fight Night — what does the concept mean to you?
Bekim Trenova: It started as kind of a joke between a couple friends that wanted to throw a boxing match. I’ve always been one to host people and put events together, and I knew a friend with a space so we made it happen. At the first one we had 100 people on Mott and Broome on an 8×8 ring that I hand-built. While it was happening I saw an energy from the crowd that you don’t get just by going out — I saw pure emotion being pulled out of people and that was it. You can go to a million parties, but catching yourself at an underground boxing match in New York’s Chinatown, gets people really excited.

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Who are your fighters, how do you choose them?
They’re not necessarily fighters. First fight was between regular kids, [for the] second fight we thought it would be funny to get models to jump in, we had some famous ones a few years ago. We train them; they get in really good shape. Funny thing is that all these guys end up looking sort of decent no matter what walk of life they’re in. One of our main kids, Charlie, who wasn’t a model, ended up becoming one because of Fight Night. It’s absolutely hilarious.

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So, all jokes aside, you’ve organized about 12 Fight Nights so far, some outside of New York City, most recently at SXSW. When did you realize that this was for real?
From day one. The first Fight Night got a reaction out of the crowd that I had never seen at any other type of party; it was a pretty unique emotion. You can get a Wall Street guy versus a hip-hop guy or a downtown kid. You can mold this whole culture and there is no animosity because it’s not a fight club, it’s a party first. And I love being in the middle of it, with a microphone. It’s just crazy.

Image by Bekim Trenova

Are two Fight Nights ever the same? How do you keep them interesting? It seems like more and more people show up every time.
I remember the first four fights we didn’t have a ring girl and then this girl popped up and she was like… manic. So we got a ring girl. I have a main DJ, Mess Kid. He’s one of the hardest working, coolest NY DJs for sure. He does Alexander Wang parties, Vogue, etc… He’s always on the forefront of what’s happening. We also have our group of four or five main fighters and a referee. So as the pieces go, we add. Each party climbs a step up the ladder in terms of taking it to the next level and doing something new.

What’s your craziest Fight Night memory?
There was a Fight Night in New York City and I think at fight six some kid got knocked the f*ck out and we didn’t have a doctor and some fan was like “hey man, there’s this crazy doctor you have to talk to him; he’s done fights before.” So we ran around the Lower East Side asking around for this doctor and we eventually found him. He’s been with us for about five years now.

Image by Bekim Trenova

What’s in the future for Fight Night? I’m sure you have a lot of ideas about what to do next.
Yeah, the party has never made money. We can’t really openly promote it, so it’s not like we can go get 3,000 people to come. But we’ve been shooting a documentary with a company called East Pleasant for three years now and I’ve been good at picking the right characters, organizing with them, and doing all that. I’m finally getting to see some of the editing and I’m like “this is worth a million dollars” (laughs).

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When is the next fight?
September. The point is to make it particular and spread out so that it doesn’t run dry. The last one was at SXSW, the next one will be during fashion week. We want to go where there’s crowds coming in from all over the world. For SXSW it was all the music people, this next one will be all the fashion people. Then we want to do it at Art Basel Miami, like a Miami versus New York fight and we’ll have the whole art community there. It’s a culture changer, it’s all of those things – it’s a music thing, it’s a fashion thing, it’s an art thing.

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