To the left stood the man the Martial Arts World would know as "Superfoot", Bill Wallace. At the far right, well, he needs little introduction, but if you read the article from yesterday, you would know that he was known as the "Muhammed Ali of his sport," or as voted by the top fighters and promoters in 1983 ahead of Chuck Norris and Bill Wallace, as the "Greatest karate fighter of all time," Joe Lewis. However, for whatever reasons, few would remember the name of the man taking center stage in the photo.
Once you learn more about him here,
Jeff "The DC Bomber" Smith was a World Kickboxing Champion and the first recipient of the Bruce Lee Award for "fighter of the year." (Selected by Mrs. Bruce Lee and Karate Magazine) He was from Kingsville Texas where he started his training in Taekwondo at the Texas A & I University TKD club in 1965. He got his Black Belt September of 1969. Jhoon Rhee would come every 3 months to Texas and teach and test at several college clubs that he had started while at the University. After Smith got his Black Belt, Rhee invited him to come to Washington D.C. to teach in his schools and train. Smith's tournament background reads like the other "Red, White & Blue" Superstars in the famous photo with wins such as...
On September 14th, 1974 in Los Angeles, California, USA, the Full Contact World Championships are organized by the new federation, the PKA (Professional Karate Association). Traditional karatekas from the USA and European fighters, are sorted in an unknown manner. Jeff Smith, like all other participants, have no experience of fighting with KO, with the exception of Joe Lewis and Wally Slocki (which have already met in a match with contact).
During the first battle, Jeff Smith defeated Budimir Vejnovic of Yugoslavia, a resident of Berlin, in the 1st round, with a right hand followed by a kick. Next Smith beats Wally Slocki of Canada, on points. Smith wins the first round and Slocki the second. Finally, Smith wins the third round, as a point is deducted against Slocki, following the instructions given by the referee. That evening, Jeff Smith becomes World Champion of the Middleweights for the PKA. Joe Lewis and Bill Wallace also become Champions of the World, in their respective categories.
On October 1st, 1975 at the 3rd fight between Pro Boxers Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier in Manila, Philippines, Jeff Smith defends his title on points, in 11 rounds, against Karriem Allah of USA, (aka Karriem Abdallah). This event is widely broadcast on television and seen by over fifty million viewers as a preview before the Ali vs Frazier World Boxing Title Fight, known as the "Thrilla in Manila." Smith wins by a split decision. Allah won the first rounds and Smith taking the later rounds.
In 1979 Dan Macaruso defeated Smith for the title by split decision after 12 rounds. Word has it that Macaruso would never give Smith a rematch. Macaruso went on to defeat Dominique Valera by KO in round 6, Dale Michaud by KO in round 1 and Carl Beamon. From 1982 to 1985, Macaruso fought Pro Boxing and amassed a record of 9-3 with 5 wins by KO.
Smith defended his title of World Champion 7 times and when he retired from the sport he amassed a full contact kickboxing record of 21-1 with 7 wins coming by KO. He currently operates a martial arts school in Virginia where he teaches Tae Kwon Do, in which he holds a 9th degree black belt. On April 6, 2007 he was inducted into the Official Taekwondo Hall of Fame.