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Meet ‘Nature Boy’ Joey Woo, the fastest guy in the gym!

Fight To End Cancer #FTEC2023 Fighter, Joey Woo [Photo Credit: Rebecca Freeman]

In the gym, Joey Woo is the fast guy, the boxer who is impossible to catch during running drills.

He’s the class comedian who keeps fellow trainees laughing.

And, he’s the son of Simon Woo, the respected family patriarch and University of Toronto administrator who died in January of 2018, a few months after doctors diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer.

It is in recognition of his father, Joey says, that he is raising money for research in the Fight To End Cancer.

“I just want to honor my father.”

~ Joey Woo, FTEC2023 Fighter

Photo: Joey with his family

Simon Woo believed in hard work, commitment and, giving more than you take. Follow that philosophy, he’d tell his children, and success will come.

Joey listened to his dad’s words. He manages a plant that manufactures, repairs, and reconditions railroad equipment. Most of his weeknights are spent at the Kingsway Boxing gym, where he runs circles around others in the conditioning classes and now, as a returning member of the 2020 FTEC team that was cancelled due to COVID, is immersed in hardcore training.

His father, Joey says, would have approved.

Simon loved martial arts. He started every day with Tai Chi, a powerful practice of self-defense. The so-called modern version was developed in China in the 1600s, but many believe its influences date back to ancient times.

Simon led Tai Chi classes at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work where, for 33 years, until 2002, he worked as the media coordinator and Chinese translator, as well as a volunteer fundraiser who brought in $500,000 in donations.

Over the years, he was given the U of T Chancellor’s Award, for “exceptional leadership.” In the Factor-Inwentash building, three rooms have been named for him, including “Simon’s Lab” and “Simon’s Garden.” Every year, at the Appreciation Event, he would greet the Master of Social Work recipient who was awarded the Simon Woo Scholarship, an endowment funded in perpetuity, according to a university article on Simon’s accomplishments.

“He has had an impact on generations of social work students.

To Joey, that was just who his dad was, the backbone of his community and family.

In the fall 2017, after experiencing abdominal pain, Simon’s entire family waited in the doctor’s office for his diagnosis.

“I remember in the room, my sisters were there, and my brother-in-laws. My mom was there. The doctor said, ‘You have pancreatic cancer and only a few months to live, it was tough. That year, the family Christmas celebration was a big one. All my aunts and uncles, cousins, everyone came. I’m just happy we fulfilled what he wanted. He wanted to see everyone together. I reflect upon those memories very positively, just seeing him being happy, smiling, joking around.”

The following month, Simon Woo passed away.

On May 27, in honor of his father, Joey will compete under the name, “Nature Boy,” inspired by Ric Flair, the American wrestler with the decades-long career, who fought against Andre the Giant and The Iron Sheik in the 1970s.

Joey Training For Fight To End Cancer 2023. [Photo credit: Virgil Barrow]

Flair, the original Nature Boy, had a signature phrase: “Wooooo!”

A perfect fit with Joey’s surname.

“I think my dad would have enjoyed this. I think he’d be very happy.”

The FTEC2023 Fight Team  stands united to Fight The Fight That Affects Us All! With the goal of reaching $3 million in 2023, 100% of all KO Cancer Bootcamp proceeds go to research at The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.


Public Relations Team, Fight To End Cancer

Donations to our Fight Team can be made at:
Photos available upon request.

Interview Opportunities:
Interview Opportunities are available in studio, on site, and via phone or email with:


Help the #FTEC2023 Fight Team reach their goal of $3 million dollars before Fight Night! Use the link below to get to know the individual team members better and support them in their Fight To End Cancer! Defeat Is NOT An Option

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About The Fight To End Cancer

The Fight To End Cancer (FTEC) is a year-round initiative carried out by ambassadors, sponsors and volunteers worldwide.  Over $2,000,000 has been donated to date, since our inaugural year, in 2012.  Funds raised by FTEC are donated directly to the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.  Each year we celebrate the incredible hard work and dedication of our FTEC family with a black-tie charity boxing gala.  This gala showcases ten men and women who represent our Official Fight Team.  Our goal is to raise funds for cancer research year-round with the support of the local community and business owners.  Let’s make a difference now in the fight to end cancer, for a long and successful future for everyone.  This is an event like no other and has quickly become one of the most anticipated events in Toronto.

About The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation
The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation at University Health Network raises funds for breakthrough research, exemplary teaching and compassionate care at Princess Margaret Hospital and its research arm, the Ontario Cancer Institute, which now includes The Campbell Family Cancer Research Institute and The Campbell Family Breast Cancer Research Institute. More information about the Foundation can be found at