After Hours: Events and PR pros by day, boxing instructors by night

We are back with our next After Hours series, featuring another group of industry players who work hard in the day, but also play hard at night. This first episode in season three of After Hours features Leona Hui (pictured right), co-founder of events company This is Anagram and national boxer, as well as Lim Ming Han (pictured left), senior account executive at AKA Asia, who share what inspired them to glove up.

While boxing for some might seem too intense, Hui, craves the adrenaline rush it gives her. Her journey with boxing began in 2011 when she tried out the sport “for fun” during a Singapore Youth Olympics roadshow. Out of curiosity, Hui threw on a pair of gloves and did some pad work, and that was all it took to get her hooked.

leona

Her decision to take on boxing raised eyebrows among some of her family and friends because females pursuing boxing was unheard of back in 2010. Also, boxing gyms weren’t as widely available back then as compared to now.

Subsequently, Hui stopped pursuing the sport for a short while before returning to competitive boxing around 2013 to 2014. While it might seem like Hui has her plate full, juggling her events company and boxing training, that did not stop her from taking on the role of a boxing trainer at Still Boxing around 2016. Her daily schedule involves juggling with training, work and teaching. While some might call it a day after 6pm, Hui is still halfway through her day’s activities, toggling between training and work, depending on her training schedules. It gets even tougher when she has double down on her training for competitions, such as the Singapore Fighting Championship, the 2015 SEA Games and the 2019 SEA Games in the Philippines.

“I think it’s challenging on a whole new level. Time is never enough but when you want to do something and you like doing it, you make time for it,” Hui said. She told Marketing that while there are times when she has no idea how to get through a week, Hui knows that at the end of the day, she still needs to push through and make it happen.

“Physically, I’m tired. I’m obviously not as young as some of my other teammates and it’s harder to recover now. It takes a lot more out of me to put in the same amount of energy to commit to a sport like that,” Hui said. As challenging as it is, Hui said those are the same reasons why she remains committed to the sport and hopes to go far in it. Her most memorable fight was against Filipino boxer Josie Gabuco during the 2015 SEA Games light-flyweight semi-final bout. Despite losing, Hui said it was still the highlight of her boxing career as she got to fight alongside her boxing idol.

“It was wonderful to be hit by someone you actually look up to in boxing,” she told Marketing candidly. She also describes her experience as a national boxer as “eye-opening”, with her fights taking her to countries such as Bulgaria, Mongolia and Vietnam.

In 2012, the national boxer started This is Anagram with her business partner after taking a short break, and the company is involved in many consumer events, including TV network events. According to Hui, running your own company offers a different perspective as compared to working as an employee. For example, as a co-founder, Hui also has to handle administrative and finance issues. “It’s the little things that come into play when you run your own business. I think every day is still a learning process for us,” she said. 

At the end of the day, she believes it is important to enjoy whatever one sets out to do. “If you have a passion, go for it. You’ll never know what doors it might open for you,” she said.

Meanwhile, Lim's journey with boxing started with the intention of leading a more active lifestyle. That was when Lim got presented with the opportunity to teach boxing at boOm. It was through teaching that he discovered his passion for boxing.

ming han

Lim told Marketing that his passion for boxing has helped him to become more vocal at work. “When you think about a PR agency, everyone is very open and always sharing their opinions. When I first started out, I was a bit soft-spoken and taking on the role of an observer,” Lim said. 

He admits that his colleagues were surprised when they found out he was a boxing instructor. Some of them got to see a different side of Lim when they attended his class and have been very supportive. According to him, boxing has helped Lim become more efficient at work and providing more structure to his life. It also offered him something to look forward to after work.

His journey with boxing, however, is not smooth sailing. Lim said one of the challenges he faced earlier on was being new to the sport and the fitness industry. As such, he was clueless about what he was jumping into.

“I’m learning as I go along. I’m picking up little things and finding out how I can adapt and still have a piece of myself when it comes to teaching,” he said. “If you’re thinking about [your passion] a lot, I would definitely say go for it. If it doesn’t work out, you can actually scale it back down. But if you never try, you’ll never know,” Lim added.

At the end of the day, Lim hopes to inspire individuals to lead a more active lifestyle and make boxing more accessible for them.

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