Johnny "Superfoot" Davis





Marketing is one of the weakest links in the entire sport of Kick Boxing. One of the most exciting contact sports in the world, Kick Boxing deserves better publicity and recognition! Clearly, the avenues are available for promoting fighters and events, we simply need to use them.
Please bear with me, as I make this point about marketing.
I joined a karate school that came to town when I was about 11 years old. It was ran by Carl and Vicki Nelepovitz in association with John Hamer, a local businessman. Mr. Nelepovitz was a nice guy and I respected him greatly. He and his wife took an interest in me immediately. I was already doing the "street thing" with the martial arts. In other words, working out with friends in back yards. We pretended to do it all, weapons, katas and every kick as seen in the movies ...especially Bruce Lee movies. (Bruce Lee was my only idle as a child.) By the time I joined the official Dojo (Karate School), I understood the basic mechanics of kicks and punches. What Mr. Nelepovitz did was help give structure to my technique.
Mr. Nelepovitz was one of the first "super kickers" I knew. He motivated me to improve my kicks. I advanced very quickly in his class and shortly became a "stand out". I remember how difficult it was for him to encourage me to compete in my first tournament. To put it mildly, I was scared and my family didn't have very much money. After deciding to compete, my mom struggled to get the money for the entry fees. The tournament was held in Columbia, South Carolina. I competed in two divisions winning second place in forms and first place in fighting. I was elated and so were my instructors and family. It would be the start of my Martial Arts career.

After returning home, my mother called up the local paper (The Dillon Herald) and spoke to the Editor Mr. Paul Jones about my victory at the tournaments. She was proud of my accomplishment and wanted the people of Dillon County to know. Mr. Jones met with me, asked questions and took photos. A week later, I would be featured in the sports section.
Mr. Jones followed my participation in the martial arts the rest of my career. Whether a win or loss, point tournament or a kick boxing match, it would be found in the pages of the Dillon Herald. By the time of my world title fight, "Superfoot" Davis was a household name in this county of about 35,000.
The paper collected advertisements and donations from local businesses to pay reporter Chester L. Caulder's expenses to cover my first world championship. This was an incredible show of support from such a small town! I didn't have a clue they were planning to send someone. I was away training for a couple of weeks in Morehead City North Carolina. The local radio stations made announcements of my fight and broadcast the results the night after the fight. Returning home, I was literally plastered on the front page and throughout the paper....Dillon's Johnny Davis- New World Champ! (I catch goose bumps as I write today...) This town loved, supported, and respected me! I will never forget! Special thanks to owner of The Dillon Herald - Mr. A.B. Jordan. and all local business and fans who supported me.
Throughout my career, I was featured in local papers, TV, and radio shows. Judging talent shows and my Karate School's participation in local parades yearly, all gave additional publicity. Often times, my manager and associates sent out Public Service Announcements of my fights and exhibitions. All of my students and their tournament results would make the news. I made sure this happened. It was news and it was free advertising and gave the sport a lift as well as increased student enrollment. All of my uniforms and workout clothing bore the name of "Superfoot Davis". People would see me running with the "billboard" displayed on my back. It wasn't long before other areas heard of my popularity and sought me out for articles and interviews.
Later, the Professional Karate Association (PKA) became popular on ESPN sports network. Marketing efforts like the ones mentioned here helped with its rise in popularity. It seemed that each time I fought, the entire town was watching.
You must do the same! Every match, every promotion, every event where you can receive publicity - do it! Make sure the local media is contacted. Forget the arrogance! Boxing's popularity was greatly boosted because of the flamboyant personality of Mohammed Ali. Make your mark in your area first and it will ripple and connect with others doing the same. Marketing makes it easier for large sanctioning and promotions organizations to attract major TV Networks and sponsors. Once there is a successful Kick Boxing series carried by a major TV network, it will be only a matter of time before kick boxers can actually make a living at what they do best. Do your part and help us grow, promote yourself and the IKF!!

Marketing Recap:

  • Wear the name of your sanctioning body or organization. ( I must highly recommend the largest and most organize sanctioning body in the world... The IKF...Order IKF logo merchandise today!)
  • Wear logo merchandise advertising the sport on your walks, jogs, at festivals and other events wear they're lots of people. (shirts, shorts, warmup suits etc.)
  • After winning any event contact your local media... paper, radio etc.
  • Do Exhibitions and demonstrations before events at various locations i.e., parks, parades, downtown festivals etc.
  • Get involved in community events.
  • Lastly, take pride in your sport and your win. Don't be afraid to show your belt or trophy

All information on this page Copyright by Johnny Davis, 2000


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