Dhafir "No Fear" Smith: "King of the Training Camps" - By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing News
Dhafir "No Fear" Smith: "King of the Training Camps"
By Ken Hissner, Doghouse Boxing (April 10, 2013) Doghouse Boxing (Photo © Mike McGuigan /phillykeith.com)
Photo © Mike McGuigan /phillykeith.com
Back in the 1980’s a Philadelphia heavyweight named Marvin Stinson spent 13 years in camp with heavyweight champion Larry Holmes. He was a former AAU amateur champion and compiled a 12-3-3 record over 5 years. Not once was he able to appear on one of Holmes undercards. Today out of the same city in Philadelphia comes Dhafir “No Fear” Smith, at age 30, preparing to defend his PA light heavyweight title April 19th at Harrah’s Casino in Chester PA.

Like Stinson, Smith has made a name for himself in training camps. Not just with one boxer but so far with 7 of them. Coming into his upcoming fight against Anthony Caputo Smith, 13-1 (10,) he is coming out of camp in Houston, TX, where he served as sparring partner for both Edwin Rodriguez, the No. 3 super middleweight contender in the WBA, WBC and IBF for his “Super 4” tournament and Brian Vera, the No. 1 middleweight contender in the WBO over a 2 week period. Vera fought in NY recently. “Rodriguez spars like a world champion in the gym and Vera is a pressure fighter,” said Smith.

The highlight of Smith’s career was defeating former IBF/IBO super middleweight champion Jeff Lacy in December of 2010. “I have been in half a dozen camps by choice. I have made connections over the years to seek out camps and I get calls to come to camps,” said Smith. He trains out of Buster Custus’ Shuler’s Gym in West Philadelphia. Custus is manager/trainer for Smith along with trainer Marty Shuler.

The day I interviewed Smith he sparred with USBA light heavyweight champion Yusaf “Mack Attack” Mack for his upcoming defense April 12 against Cedric Agnew. Then went several more rounds with former USBA heavyweight champion now planning to fight as a cruiserweight, Philadelphia’s “Fast” Eddie Chambers. “Difference here is I don’t get paid,” said Smith.

Previously Smith was in camp with WBA middleweight champion Gennady “GGG” Golovkin of Kazakahstan, for his title defense in January against Philadelphia’s Gabe “King” Rosado. “It was the toughest camp I have ever been in. He hits like a heavyweight all over your body,” said Smith. Golovkin’s adviser Tom Loeffler said “we were very satisfied with Dhafir in camp”. He was in camp for 5 weeks in Big Bear, CA.

Smith spent 3 weeks in Oakland preparing WBC and WBA super middleweight champion Andre “S.O.G.” Ward for his title defense against Carl Froch. “Ward is one of the best skilled and smart boxers I’ve been in with. He is a very good person who would give you the shirt off his back,” said Smith. He lost to Ward in May of 2007 in CA.

Smith also was in camp with a pair of boxers fighting out of Canada. “I spent 2 weeks in Detroit with (now the WBC Silver light heavyweight champion) Adonis “Superman” Stevenson,” said Smith. Stevenson is originally from Haiti and will be challenging WBC light heavyweight champion Chad “Bad” Dawson June 8th. “He is a good strong southpaw who is learning and getting better. Manny Steward taught him a lot when I was in camp with him,” said Smith. Back in April of 2008 Smith lost to Stevenson in Canada for the vacant WBC Continental Americas super middleweight title.

The other fighter out of Canada is Romanian and former IBF super middleweight champion Lucian “Le Tombeur” Bute whom Smith was in camp with for 2 weeks in Miami, FL. “He is a good slick southpaw who punches hard with 18 oz. gloves. I trained with him prior to winning the PA title against Tony “Boom Boom” Ferrante in May of 2012,” said Smith.

Smith was in camp in Philadelphia with former WBO light heavyweight and WBC cruiserweight champion Zsolt Erdei, of Hungary, who recently lost for the first time in the same “Super 4” tournament Rodriguez is in. “He has a very sharp jab like mine. He is a slick boxer and strong,” said Smith. Smith is known to have the best left jab in Philadelphia. “I learned how to throw the jab from Jimmy Beecham at the Upper Darby PAL” said Smith.

Smith earlier in his career that started back in March of 2001 fought 3 times for WBC Youth titles. He fought for the light heavyweight and super middleweight titles in Russia and the light heavyweight title in Poland. In 2006 he won the WBF All American light heavyweight title. After defeating Lacy he lost to Jesus Gonzales for the vacant IBF North American super middleweight title.

After that Smith lost a split decision to the now No. 6 WBO and No. 7 IBF light heavyweight Cornelius White who was also in camp with Smith in Houston recently. “I know I won that fight,” said Smith. The decision could have gone either way. In his last fight he had Cuban Umberto Savigne on the canvas only to lose in challenging for the WBA Fedelatin light heavyweight title in November in FL. Again it was a close fight that Smith felt he did enough to deserve the win.

Smith has fought 56 times compiling a 26-23-7 (4) record. He took too many short notice fights and in the back yard of too many opponents after starting his career at 8-0-2 before losing. He has fought from 160 to 179 during his career. Smith is one of the most likeable boxers you will ever meet. He calls me enough that I sometimes wonder if he thinks he is on my life insurance policy and is checking in to see if I am still “around”. When this writer met Andre Ward in NY recently at the Golovkin-Rosado fight I mentioned Smith’s name and his face lit up! Smith likes to be known as “King of the Training Camps”!

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