World’s traveling boxing referee Steve “SS” Smoger spends more time working out of the USA than in, writes Ken Hissner of Doghouseboxing.com
He completed working on every continent when he worked for the IBO in May at the Melbourne Pavilion, in Victoria, Australia. He is the most traveled referee in the world and should have been in the IBHOF years ago. He has worked 12 cards this year including in Bermuda, Cyprus, United Arab Emirates, Lithuania, Australia, Ukraine and France. The other 6 cards were in the USA with 2 in PA and 1 each in MO, CT and NJ. He has worked in each month this year and added 3 more world title bouts he’s worked.
Comparing this to 2011 Smoger worked 36 cards. He was in 9 countries including Australia, Portugal, Lithuania, Argentina, Ukraine, Russia, Uruguay, UAE and Germany. He also worked 27 cards in USA including NJ (6), OK (2), NY (4), CT (3), PA (3), MN (1), DE (4) and MO (3). He did 5 world title bouts.
“I am on the beach when I am not in the ring. It was late August and my cell phone rings”, said Smoger. “Etienne Smoge? That is French for Steve Smoger”. “If that is Stevie Smoger it’s me,” said Smoger. “This is JC Courreges from Paris (now living in Seattle)”. “Have you heard of Euro Sport?” says JC. “Yes sir it’s the biggest sports network in Europe,” said Smoger.
“Courreges managed the Tiozzi brothers from France, Fabrice (48-2, WBA/WBC #175 and WBA Cruiser champ) and Christophe (33-2, WBA Super Middle champ). He also managed Henry Akinwande (WBO heavy champ),” said Smoger.
“Bigger’s Better has joined forces with us to find heavyweight prospects. You know the Klitschko’s are not getting any younger. It’s our purpose to find successors to the Klitschko’s in this region of the world. We had a successful trip to NY and met with the higher hierarchy of MSG. The rules of the US insist a fighter cannot fight more than one fight in an evening. We have 3 fights at 3 rounds making it a 9 round evening. That is why we are concentrating on Europe and we have met with success. Your name was given to us by Egis Klemes from Lithuania in Kazakhstan who manages (DeMarcus) “Chop Chop” Corley (former WBO light welter champ) who defeated several boxers in Kazakhstan. We also got a recommendation from legendary matchmaker Don Elbaum. They have a contract with Euro Sport to put on at least 9 tournaments per year,” said Courreges.
“They were pleased with my work in Vilinius, Lithuania (May 25) and Limassol, Cyprus (July 6) and invited me back in September to Lisbon, Portugal. It’s fine to see the blend from the old USSR and what democracy has brought today. I think I’m the first American to officiate in Lithuania”, said Smoger.
On August 24th in Mazagan Beach Resort El Jadida, Morocco there will be another 8 man tournament called Bigger’s Better 14.
The following are the scheduled fighters: Adil Atmari of Morocco; Adjit Kabayel of Turkey/Germany; Yassin Bouanan of Belgium; Mateusz Malujda of Poland; Lucian Bot of Romania; Marcel Gotshalk of Germany; Fabrice Aurieng of France and Milan Dasic of Serbia. You can go to www.biggersbetterboxing.com to check out the background and experience of each fighter.
Courreges spent 1984-1992 in FR and the USA since then becoming an American citizen. This idea of 3 round tournaments with 8 boxers performing in one night is not allowed in the USA at this time. The UK’s Prizefighters Tournament is similar to this type of boxing event. New York’s heavyweight Tor Hammer in June went to the UK and won their tournament.
“The cultural experience to see a young country in its 20th year of independence was great. As we had our fairwell dinner after the show JC and his partners asked if I would come back. April in Paris was beautiful. My fellow referee Klaus Hagemann of Hamburg, Germany, does a lot of UFC. We judge when we are not the referee. In May we were back in Lithuania. I just got back from Cyprus (July 6th). All the shows have a combination of MMA and other entertainment and boxing. Show begins at 8pm with MMA and from 9-11pm is boxing,” said Smoger.
“By the Grace of God I am in my 30th year and if I am called upon for a seminar or as a presenter I go. I had covered every continent but Australia until last year. I got a call from Ed Levine the head of the IBO asking if I was available a week after Thanksgiving in November (30th) in Perth, Australia. It was summer there and I’m swimming in the Indian Ocean. I only had to be aware of the sharks. (But that is also to be aware of in boxing I told Smoger) In between I fly out Thanksgiving eve and go to DuBai. I got home before my lovely engagement December 1st and did the Cotto-Margarito fight in the Garden on the 3rd. I catch the Red Eye back to DuBai. Then I did Ward-Froch (Dec 17th) in Atlantic City. In February (10th) I did the Devon Alexander and Marcos Maidana fight on HBO,” said Smoger.
Smoger could be a key to these types of tournaments coming here along with Courreges. In the past the Golden Gloves tournament would have several fights in one day. Then a boxer in PA died from his ring injuries and they frowned upon it from there on.
They have had 13 events but no Americans yet. They created these tournaments 3 years ago. They have 8 winners and met in Croatia last year. Because 2 Latvian’s have won so far, Regia, Latvia may be in for the December 21st final. The winner gets 25k and an opportunity to go to Don Turner’s camp in NC, for training and a possible 2 fights. I’ve notice the improvement from the UFC, MMA and Thai boxers. The fans can vote in one loser on a future show. There are no draws but will go an extra round,” said Smoger.
You can go on line and see former bouts in Bigger’s Better tournaments and see how competitive the fighters are. In time some bigger names with bigger rewards will probably come about. Bringing in fighters with all different backgrounds of boxing both amateur/professional, kick boxing/Thai Boxing and MMA are their backgrounds. Bringing in Smoger has brought quality officiating and direction for these tournaments. Next could be American participants in order to bring this to the attention of the American fans. Remember, August 24th in Morocco live on Eurosport.