Ishe Smith

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Ishe Smith
Real nameIshé Oluwa Kamau Ali Smith
Nickname(s)Sugar Shay
Height5 ft 10 in (178 cm)
Reach71 in (180 cm)
Born (1978-07-22) July 22, 1978 (age 40)
Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
Boxing record
Total fights40
Wins by KO12

Ishé Oluwa Kamau Ali Smith (born July 22, 1978), best known as Ishe Smith, is an American former professional boxer who competed from 2000 to 2019. He held the IBF junior middleweight title in 2013, and is the first boxer from Las Vegas to become a world champion. During his early career, he participated in the first season of the reality TV show The Contender in 2005.

Early life and education[edit]

Smith grew up in Nevada with his mother and siblings but never knew his father.[1] As an amateur Smith competed on the national stage for years. In 1996 he made it to the finals of the US National Championships, losing a competitive match on points to Héctor Camacho Jr.,[2] and semifinals of the U.S. Olympic trials, losing on points to Zab Judah.[3] In 1999, he lost on points in another close bout in the quarterfinals of the US National Championships to Larry Mosley, who went on to win the tournament.[4]

Professional career[edit]

Smith was a strong prospect early in his career, he won his first fourteen fights while facing generally strong opposition. In 2001, he faced Alfonso Gomez in his fourth pro fight (Alfonso's second pro fight). Smith won via a controversial unanimous decision (due to a low-blow penalty against Gomez that was poorly called) in a four-round fight. Later that year, he beat Norberto Bravo by unanimous decision. Most notably, in 2003 he dominated David "King" Estrada, a fellow hot prospect at the time, beating him by a wide unanimous decision.[citation needed]

In 2004, Smith won his first belts (WBC Continental Welterweight title, WBO NABO Welterweight title, and USBA Welterweight title), beating the former world champion Randall Bailey by a controversial unanimous decision.[citation needed] In an economical punching fight, Smith scored a knockdown in the second round and showed better defense, but Bailey was a bit more active throughout, particularly in the last three rounds with an effective jab. There was little to separate the two men in terms of scoring the fight, but Smith won by scores of 116-111, 117-110, and 114-113.[citation needed]

The Contender[edit]

The Contender results
Round Result Opponent
First Round Win (points) Kaddour
Quarter Finals Loss (points) Mora
Fans Favorite Win (points) Bonsante

Ishe took a chance and signed on to do The Contender reality show. He was assigned as a roommate to his former adversary Alfonso Gomez. On the show, he was placed on the West Coast team and fought his rival Ahmed Kaddour in the third episode's fight. Smith won by unanimous decision against Kaddour in a tough fight. Smith criticized Anthony Bonsante for fighting Brent Cooper, whom he did not think was an appropriate competitor. Their bout had no bearing on Smith's standing in the competition.

When Juan de la Rosa was medically disqualified at the end of the first round fight, certain other boxers bought back Kaddour, a tactic employed to get under Smith's skin. After Brinkley criticized Smith for speaking his mind too often, Brinkley selected the fighter to go against Sergio Mora. Mora won over Smith in a split decision and was the tournament's eventual winner.

Smith faced his nemesis Bonsante in a "Fan Favorite Fight". Despite suffering many illegal moves from a desperate Bonsante, Smith won by a wide unanimous decision.

Some of Smith's earlier challengers in the ring also appeared on The Contender, namely, Alfonso Gomez and Norberto Bravo.


Since appearing on The Contender, Smith has criticized the show's management company for trying to force him to fight Jesse Brinkley at a severe weight disadvantage for a relatively small fight purse.[citation needed] A natural welterweight, Smith feels that he should have been allowed to drop back down to a lower weight class and fight more rounds against opponents outside The Contender in preparation for an eventual title shot, or be allowed out of the show's management contract as Contender contestants Ahmed Kaddour and Jimmy Lange, among others, have been.[citation needed]

Smith won his arbitration trial. He left the Contender promotions and signed a contract with Oscar De La Hoya's Golden Boy Promotions. Smith has been under Bernard Hopkins' guidance since joining that company.[citation needed]

Smith was featured on a June 7, 2006 fight card promoted by Bernard Hopkins on ESPN Friday Night Fight, where he dominated his opponent Patrick Thompson through 10 rounds to get a unanimous decision. He fought at 154 lbs, in the junior middleweight division, which is considered a division with many opportunities for young prospects.[citation needed]

Smith fought Sechew Powell, a junior middleweight contender on February 17, 2007, and lost a unanimous decision, potentially halting his hopes of landing a title shot. Smith lost the fight despite scoring a knock down. After the decision was announced, many of Powell's hometown fans booed the decision. The judges gave Powell eight out of ten rounds. The fight was very slow as neither man wanted to let his hands go much, so the booing may have been for the lackluster nature of the fight.

Smith lost a razor-close decision to Joel Julio on April 30, 2008. Julio outworked Smith in the early rounds of the fight, but Smith came on strong in the 2nd half of the fight to make it interesting. Julio went on to lose his next two fights, one by TKO.

Smith returned to the ring on August 1, 2008, winning by unanimous decision over the previously undefeated Pawel Wolak. Describing the bout for him as "a do or die, must win situation", he delivered, outboxing the somewhat plodding Wolak in one of his most consistent performances. He followed that with a workmanlike unanimous decision win over Chris Gray in a stay-busy fight.

Smith lost to Danny Jacobs on August 22, 2009, but he had his moments in the fight and was definitely was crowd pleasing. Smith had moved up to Middleweight to challenge Jacobs. Smith vowed to go back to Jr Middleweight and make a run at the title, but his next fight was again at middleweight July 16, 2010 in Memphis, Tennessee against Fernando Guerrero, an explosive southpaw Middleweight prospect.

Smith and Guerrero fought on ShoBox in a ten-round competitive action affair. For the first half of the fight, Guerrero seemed to have a slight edge, as he outlanded and outworked Smith; the latter used many body shots, some being low, resulting in him losing a point. The tide turned heavily in Smith's favor in Round 8; he dropped Guerrero with a strong right hand at the end of the round. Smith had a very strong Round 9 and a good Round 10, though Guerrero had his moments in the final round as well. Though it appeared the scores could have gone either way by the end of the fight and Smith closed strong, Guerrero won 96-93, 95-93, and a surprising score of 97-91. Smith said afterward that he would like to return to Light Middleweight to make a run and/or get a fight with Julio César Chávez, Jr.

Soon after the Guerrero fight, Smith took a stay-busy fight which he easily won. He went on a long layoff, during which he stayed in the news mostly doing various boxing mailbags: commenting on the sport for websites such as BoxingScene and BoxingTalk. He also did sparring work for various camps. After more than a year and a half layoff, Smith returned to the ring in May 2012 against Ayi Bruce, winning easily via 4th round TKO at 154 lbs, and then September 8 won all 10 rounds on 2 cards and 9 of 10 on the 3rd card vs Irving Garcia for his 2nd straight 154 lb division victory, earning him his first world title challenge for Contender Season 2 Bronze medalist Cornelius Bundrage's IBF 154 lb belt scheduled February 23, 2013.

IBF junior middleweight champion[edit]

On February 23, 2013 Ishe Smith won a majority decision victory over Cornelius Bundrage to become the new IBF junior middleweight champion. On September 14, 2013, Smith lost his title to Carlos Molina by split decision. Many commentators rergarded the fight as a humdrum affair lacking any meaningful action, specifically on Smith's part. Two judges scored the bout 116-112 and 117-111 for Molina and one of the judges scored the bout 116-112 for Ishe.

Originally, Smith was supposed to face Erislandy Lara, but ultimately ended up facing Ryan Davis on May 2, 2014 after Lara elected to instead challenge Saúl "Canelo" Álvarez directly. Smith knocked Davis out at the end of the second round.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
40 fights 29 wins 11 losses
By knockout 12 1
By decision 17 10
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
40 Loss 29–11 United States Erickson Lubin RTD 3 (10), 3:00 Feb 9, 2019 United States Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California, U.S.
39 Loss 29–10 United States Tony Harrison SD 10 May 11, 2018 United States Sam's Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
38 Loss 29–9 United States Julian Williams UD 10 Nov 18, 2017 United States Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
37 Win 29–8 United States Frank Galarza MD 10 Sep 16, 2016 United States Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
36 Win 28–8 United States Tommy Rainone UD 10 Dec 18, 2015 United States Pearl Concert Theater, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
35 Loss 27–8 United States Vanes Martirosyan MD 10 Sep 12, 2015 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
34 Win 27–7 United States Cecil McCalla UD 10 Apr 30, 2015 United States Pearl Concert Theater, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
33 Loss 26–7 United States Erislandy Lara UD 12 Dec 12, 2014 United States Alamodome, San Antonio, Texas, U.S. For WBA (Regular) light middleweight title
32 Win 26–6 United States Ryan Davis KO 2 (10), 2:59 May 2, 2014 United States The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
31 Loss 25–6 Mexico Carlos Molina SD 12 Sep 14, 2013 United States MGM Grand Garden Arena, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost IBF light middleweight title
30 Win 25–5 United States Cornelius Bundrage MD 12 Feb 23, 2013 United States Masonic Temple, Detroit, Michigan, U.S. Won IBF light middleweight title
29 Win 24–5 Puerto Rico Irving Garcia UD 10 Sep 8, 2012 United States The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
28 Win 23–5 Ghana Ayi Bruce TKO 4 (10), 2:10 May 4, 2012 United States The Joint, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
27 Win 22–5 Colombia Alexander Pacheco Quiroz RTD 2 (8), 3:00 Nov 5, 2010 United States Scheels Arena, Fargo, North Dakota, U.S.
26 Loss 21–5 Dominican Republic Fernando Guerrero UD 10 Jul 16, 2010 United States DeSoto Civic Center, Southaven, Mississippi, U.S. For vacant WBC–NABF middleweight title
25 Loss 21–4 United States Daniel Jacobs UD 10 Aug 22, 2009 United States Toyota Center, Houston, Texas, U.S. For vacant WBO–NABO middleweight title
24 Win 21–3 United States Chris Gray UD 6 May 8, 2009 United States Plaza Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.
23 Win 20–3 Poland Paweł Wolak UD 10 Aug 1, 2008 United States Aviator Sports and Events Center, New York City, New York, U.S.
22 Loss 19–3 Colombia Joel Julio UD 10 Apr 30, 2008 Canada River Rock Casino Resort, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada
21 Win 19–2 Mexico Carlos De La Cruz TKO 2 (6) Feb 8, 2008 United States Miccosukee Resort & Gaming, Miami, Florida, U.S.
20 Loss 18–2 United States Sechew Powell UD 10 Feb 17, 2007 United States Hammerstein Ballroom, New York City, New York, U.S.
19 Win 18–1 Mexico Óscar González TKO 2 (10), 2:55 Aug 25, 2006 United States Desert Diamond Casino, Tucson, Arizona, U.S.
18 Win 17–1 United States Patrick Thompson UD 10 Jun 7, 2006 United States Borgata, Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.
17 Win 16–1 United States Anthony Bonsante UD 5 May 24, 2005 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
16 Loss 15–1 United States Sergio Mora SD 5 Sep 12, 2004 United States Contender Gymnasium, Pasadena, California, U.S. The Contender: quarter-final
15 Win 15–0 Denmark Ahmad Kaddour UD 5 Aug 24, 2004 United States Contender Gymnasium, Pasadena, California, U.S. The Contender: preliminary round
14 Win 14–0 United States Randall Bailey UD 12 Jan 15, 2004 United States Chumash Casino Resort, Santa Ynez, California, U.S. Won vacant WBC Continental Americas, IBFUSBA, and WBONABO welterweight titles
13 Win 13–0 United States David Estrada UD 10 Jul 31, 2003 United States Kewadin Casino, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan, U.S.
12 Win 12–0 Puerto Rico Sal Lopez TKO 2 (10), 2:31 Jun 20, 2003 United States Home Depot Center, Carson, California, U.S.
11 Win 11–0 United States Sam Garr UD 10 Apr 24, 2003 United States Grand Casino, Gulfport, Mississippi, U.S.
10 Win 10–0 United States Edson Madrid KO 1 (6), 1:25 Dec 27, 2002 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
9 Win 9–0 Philippines Gerry Balagbagan UD 6 Oct 18, 2002 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
8 Win 8–0 United States Charles Blake TKO 2 (8), 2:58 Jul 26, 2002 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
7 Win 7–0 Belize Michael Soberanis UD 4 May 17, 2002 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
6 Win 6–0 United States Norberto Bravo UD 6 Dec 28, 2001 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
5 Win 5–0 United States Sean Holley TKO 3 (4), 2:43 Oct 19, 2001 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
4 Win 4–0 Mexico Alfonso Gómez UD 4 Jun 15, 2001 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
3 Win 3–0 United States Tony Sanza TKO 1 (4), 0:55 May 18, 2001 United States The Orleans, Paradise, Nevada, U.S.
2 Win 2–0 United States Steve Verdin KO 1 (4), 0:41 Sep 9, 2000 United States New Orleans Arena, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
1 Win 1–0 United States Jose Meraz TKO 3 (4), 2:59 Jul 29, 2000 United States Grand Casino, Tunica, Mississippi, U.S.


  1. ^ Kevin Iole (2013-02-22). "Suicidal thoughts behind him, Ishe Smith hopes to become first native Las Vegas world champ". Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  2. ^ "USA1996". Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  3. ^ "Zab Judah". Retrieved 2016-10-17.
  4. ^ "USA National Championships 1999". Retrieved 2016-10-17.

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Miguel Angel Rodriguez
WBC Continental Americas
welterweight champion

January 15, 2004 – August 2004
Title next held by
Mauro Lucero
Title last held by
Cory Spinks
IBFUSBA welterweight champion
January 15, 2004 – July 2004
Title next held by
David Estrada
Title last held by
José Celaya
WBONABO welterweight champion
January 15, 2004 – August 2004
Title next held by
Mark Suárez
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Cornelius Bundrage
IBF junior middleweight champion
February 23, 2013 – September 14, 2013
Succeeded by
Carlos Molina