Charles C. Smith (boxer)

Last updated
C. C. Smith
Real nameCharles C. Smith
Nickname(s)The Black Thunderbolt
Weight(s) Heavyweight
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)
Nationality American
Born(1860-05-03)May 3, 1860
Macon, Georgia
Died(1924-10-01)October 1, 1924
Boxing record
Total fights63
Wins by KO33

C.C. Smith (b. 3 May 1860? - 1 October 1924), a.k.a. Charles C. Smith, Charles A.C. Smith, and Charlie Smith, was an African American boxer who claimed the status of being the World Colored Heavyweight Champ and was the first boxer recognized as such.


Smith was born in Macon, Georgia, likely into slavery, and he and his mother moved north in 1865. His birth date is given as 3 May 1860, but since he supposedly did not begin boxing until he was 19 and claimed the title in 1876, the birth year likely is spurious. Some sources cite 1869 as the year his boxing career began, and others 1879, which would have been three years after he claimed the championship.

He began fighting as a bareknuckle boxer. The 5'11" Smith, whose moniker was "The Black Thunderbolt", fought as a heavyweight out of Buffalo, New York. Bill Muldoon, his manager, said he was a great pugilist possessed of cunning and a terrific punch. He reportedly fought 225 bouts. [1]

In 1891, he traveled with Muldoon's traveling carnival, where he boxed with future lightweight champ Joe Gans, who was beginning his career. Gans would become the first African American to hold a world's championship boxing title. [2]

Smith killed a man in the ring. On October 24, 1894, Amos Theis died of injuries inflicted by Smith during a bout in Louisville, Kentucky. [3]

In 1903, when he was in his forties or fifties, he fought and defeated the former British Heavyweight champ, 40-year-old Jem Smith,in Manchester, Lancashire, England via a knockout. He reportedly fought Colored Heavyweight Champ (and future world heavyweight champ) Jack Johnson in Minneapolis, Minnesota in 1906, but it was likely an exhibition or never occurred due to Smith's age.

Smith's official record is 39 wins (33 by knockout) against 14 losses (he was KO-ed nine times) and five draws. He also recorded one newspaper decision win. [4]

He died on 1 October 1924.

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  1. "Charles A.C. Smith (the "Black Thunderbolt"". Cyber Boxing Zone. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  2. Aycock, Colleen (2011). The First Black Boxing Champions: Essays on Fighters of the 1800s to The 1920s. McFarland. p. 83. ISBN   978-0786449910.
  3. "Boxing Fatalities: Amos Theis". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
  4. "C.C. Smith)". BoxRec. Retrieved 19 May 2012.
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
New Title
World Colored Heavyweight Champion
1876 - 1878
Succeeded by
Morris Grant