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Cover – China Smith – All Business – Team China Smith

China-Smith-210-210

China Smith

Team China Smith

“Leading By Example”

By Ed Bertha

Photography by Giovanni Lunardi

Design by Christian Lunardi

The Dragon

September 15, 1978 saw China Smith, Jr. enter this world. Born and raised in Sarasota, China grew up boxing with his father, China Smith, Sr., and playing football. “My dad had me going around running and doing (boxing) drills when I was 3,” he recalls.

Although China’s father, who boxed for fun, pushed for him to focus on boxing, China had other thoughts. As a freshman he made the varsity football team at Riverview High School and quickly became one of the top running backs in the nation, amassing 25 touchdowns & over 1,300 yards rushing. As a senior China surprised everyone by turning down scholarships from the University of Florida, Florida State University, University of Miami, Michigan, and Notre Dame in hopes of becoming a professional boxer.
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Entering the amateur ranks as a young boxer China trained hard and focused on his goal of becoming a premier boxer. He found success quickly, winning the Florida Golden Gloves, Junior U.S. Nationals, a Florida State Tournament title and three Sunshine State Championship titles. “When I was 17, I took on a 26-year-old guy and won the fight,” he says. “My dad and I were like, ‘Might as well go pro and get paid.’” Turning pro at 18, China’s first professional boxing match was held at Sarasota’s Robarts Arena. The town favorite saw more than 1,500 people turned away from the sellout match, of which he won.

The 6’ 1” southpaw is known around the world as China Smith, The Dragon. Using his speed and power The Dragon breaks down his opponents with concentrated and continuous body blows, usually knocking out his outclassed opponents. The Dragon’s boxing record stands at 34W – 4L – 27KO’s and more importantly includes four boxing championship belts; two National Boxing Association (NBA) World Championships and two NBA Continental Championships. Quite impressive considering China accomplished all of this by age 34.

His dedication and perseverance towards earning multiple boxing championships, his deep community involvement and a willingness to give back has earned China the local nickname, The People’s Champ.

The People’s Champ

China’s family owns the oldest minority businesses in Sarasota, the Town Hall Restaurant. Spending plenty of time working at the restaurant he is continually reminded by his family to “Never get too big where you can’t put one of these aprons on,” he says smiling.

A talented fighter, China is sincere and humble. Known as clean-cut (No drinking, smoking or illegal drugs), he’s also known as moral and honorable. A devote family man China shares, “I feel really good about the way I was brought up. I try to be a gentleman first, which I am a gentleman. I will do any positive thing I can do as long as it’s the right thing.” China is certainly a rarity in today’s sports world.

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“To become a champion the gym is where it begins”

Revered in Sarasota as a role model he has received a key to the city and his own China Smith Day parade. Mentoring kids and young adults China believes in “knocking out negativity”. He encourages students to listen to other people, (especially their parents), stay in school and make wise choices.

After years of inspirational speaking to a multitude of crowds, China founded his own non-profit children’s organization, China Smith and Friends. His organization works with at risk children in the community and mentors on a variety of levels. “I had a calling to work with kids. Mr. Kennedy (Headmaster at Sarasota Military Academy) believed in my vision and stepped up when no one else would. He gave the kids a great start.” Mr. Kennedy enabled China to organize his first boxing fitness camp at Sarasota Military Academy. Currently he is running a similar boxing fitness program at the Police Athletic League of Manatee County (PAL).

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“Boxing is 70% mental and 30% physical; you have to believe in yourself”

At PAL China is taking big steps to knock out negativity in the community by managing The Boxing Extreme Fitness program for youth and adults. The Boxing Extreme Fitness gym features a large professional weight room, exercise machines, cardio equipment and an open group fitness area. The facility also contains a regulation-sized boxing ring, heavy bags, speed bags and more. It is important to note that getting in the ring is optional in China’s program.

The Future

Recently completing a documentary, “China Smith – The Second Chance”, a story about his life, boxing career and quest to return to the ring to capture a third World Championship, China is releasing a branded clothing line and shooting an online reality TV show.

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“Behind every successful man is a dedicated woman” China with wife Jami

China also launched Team China Smith, a sports marketing organization promoting shows, managing fighters and representing other athletes. “I want others to be able to leverage my knowledge and experience so they have the best opportunity to succeed. Regarding the kids in my program I want them to far exceed everything I’ve accomplished,” he says steadfastly. Accredited investors are welcome to become part of Team China Smith.

china-smaith-hands-750
“These hands are as good at winning championships as giving back”

If that all weren’t enough China is preparing for boxing’s “chess match” schedule to crack the top ten in the world as a heavy weight again by the end of the year. Upon achieving this goal he will have the opportunity to earn his third National Boxing Association World Championship. I wish China all the best in coming out on top, a winner once again.

china-smith-ring
The Champ

In many ways China Smith is the anti-athlete. No attitude, no arrest record, no smack-talk, no bling. How can such a pleasant, smart individual find the aggression demanded in a violent contact sport known as the hurt business? It is China’s inner balance of The Dragon and The People’s Champ, always doing the right thing at the right time.

China Smith
P.O. Box 1519
Tallevast, FL 34270
(941) 587.1671
Events@TeamChinaSmith.com
www.TeamChinaSmith.com

Copyright © 2014 REAL Exclusive Magazine
Links to this article are encouraged

Photography used under license from Giovanni Lunardi Photography
Photography Copyright © 2014 Giovanni Lunardi Photography

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