Pete Cunningham (kickboxer)

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Peter Cunningham
Book cover 2014.jpg
BornMarch 25, 1963 (1963-03-25) (age 55)
Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago
Other namesSugarfoot
ResidenceLos Angeles, California
NationalityCanadian
Height5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
DivisionLightweight
Super Lightweight
Junior Welterweight
Welterweight
StyleChitō-ryū, Karate, Ukidokan Karate, Boxing, Kickboxing
Fighting out ofThe Jet Center
Teacher(s)Robert Supeene Sr., Tom Forstreuter, Ed Couzens, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez
Rank5th degree black belt in Kempo Karate, 2nd degree black belt in Chito-Ryu Karate
Years active18 years
Professional boxing record
Total14
Wins10
Losses4
Kickboxing record
Total52
Wins50
By knockout21
Losses1
Draws1
Other information
OccupationCoach at Sugarfoot Kickboxing Coach at Team USA Kickboxing
Notable studentsRichard Norton, Stephen Quadros, Shawn Yacoubian, Vinc Pichel, German Baltazar, Kendra Smith, Mia St. John, Javier Diez, Terry Davis, Mikaela Mayer, ...
Websitesugarfootkickboxing.com

Peter "Sugarfoot" Cunningham (born March 25, 1963) is a retired Canadian 7-time World Champion[1] Hall of Fame[2] kickboxer, boxer, martial artist, actor and author. Rated by experts as one of the greatest full contact fighters of all time,[3] Sugarfoot was a superb technician who possessed high fighting I.Q. and lightning speed. He retired from kickboxing in 1996[4] with a record of 50-1-1, having avenged the only draw of his career but only one defeated Peter, the undefeated Richard Sylla at the WKA World Title in Paris. Cunningham's skills in the ring have been praised by many martial arts legends, including Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, Chuck Norris, Dan Inosanto, Rigan Machado, Don "The Dragon" Wilson and many others. Cunningham maintained a high level competition throughout his career as most of his opponents were either current or former champions. In 1998 in San Jose, California, Peter was honored as the inaugural inductee in the I.S.K.A. Hall of Fame.[5]

Cunningham's nickname "Sugarfoot" is a combination of the names of two great fighters in boxing and kickboxing that his style most resembled, "Sugar" Ray Leonard and Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, and it was given to him by his peers at his first dojo in Edmonton, Canada while he was still a teenager.

Ssdd.jpg

Peter's World Titles included the W.K.A (World Karate Association) Lightweight,[6] Super Lightweight[7] and Junior Walterweight[8] World Titles, the K.I.C.K. (Karate International Council of Kickboxing) Super Lightweight Title,[9] the I.M.F. (International Muay Thai Federation) Junior Welterweight Title,[10] the W.M.A.C World Junior Welterweight Title, and the I.S.K.A. (International Sport Karate Association) Light Welterweight World Title.

Sugarfoot is also an actor and has appeared in TV series such as Kung Fu: The Legend Continues[11] and CSI,[12] and in movies such as No Retreat, No Surrender[13] (1986) and The Fighter (2010).[14]

After retiring from competition, Sugarfoot transitioned into becoming a successful trainer. His time is split between training professional fighters and teaching boxing and kickboxing to kids and adults. Peter has trained many amateur and professional world champions as well as numerous well-known celebrities. In 2018, currently teaching at House Of Champions in California.

Cunningham has written two books, the first of which, a kickboxing training manual entitled Civilized Warring, was published in 1995.[15] He co-authored his second book, "Testimonials of a Legendary Champion" in 2013.[16]

Early life[edit]

Peter D.O. Cunningham was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago on March 25, 1963.[17] When he was six years old, his parents divorced,[18] and his mother Rosel left Trinidad and Tobago together with him and his siblings, and moved to the small island of St. Vincent in the West Indies.[19] This is where Peter watched Enter the Dragon for the first time as a 10-year old and decided that he is "going to be like Bruce Lee".[20] In 1976, Peter's family moved yet again, this time to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada,[21] to start a new life. His mother became a sole bread winner and took care of the children.[22] Peter attended St. Marks Junior High School[23] and St. Joseph Composite High School in Edmonton.

Introduction to martial arts[edit]

Peter took his first karate class in February 1978 after being introduced to his first karate dojo and first Sensei Grandmaster Robert Supeene Sr. by junior high school friends.[24] He immediately felt the connection with his Sensei and fell in love with the sport. Seven months later, as an orange belt holder Peter participated in his first karate tournament.[25] Along with winning top prize in his own belt division, he was voted "Best Technician" of the tournament,[26] an award typically only won by black belts. This tournament marked the beginning of hiscareer.

Fighting career[edit]

Retirement fight, Dida Diafat 2, 1996.

Peter started his amateur kickboxing career in 1980, when he beat Reg Johnson in Calgary, Canada.[27] Later that month, he began taking boxing lessons with Ted James and his son Rocky at the South Side Legion boxing gym in Edmonton.[28]

A few more wins in amateur kickboxing followed, and in January 1981, Peter met the legendary Benny "The Jet" Urquidez,[29] who was giving a kickboxing seminar in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.[30] This is where The Jet told the young fighter "you are going to be a great champion". Around this time,Peter "Sugarfoot" Cunningham had his first professional kickboxing fight where he took on the Canadian Champion Gordy Gong.[31] Peter won by a big knock out, a round kick to the head.[32] After the fight, Sensei Rueben Urquidez and Sensei Blinky Rodriguez approached Cunningham and his mother to congratulate him on the big win, and extend an invitation to come and train out of their world class facility in Van Nuys, California, The Jet Center.[33] This was a dream come true for Peter and he gladly accepted.

As Sugarfoot made his move to Los Angeles, he was featured on the undercard of Muhammad Ali's exhibition bout with a hockey player David Seminko. The event took place in Canada. Peter defeated his opponent, who was a World Lightweight Champion, and impressed Ali's trainer and cornerman Bundini Brown, who introduced Sugarfoot to Ali and his family. Ali signed a book for Peter's mother, and then suggested to Bundini to invite the young fighter to come and train at the Joe Lewis - Muhammad Ali Gym in Santa Monica.[34]

It seems that it was destiny and that the stars aligned - two of the greatest champions in their respective sports, boxing and kickboxing - both extended an invite to join them and train with them to pursue his championship aspirations. From that point on, and for the next three years Peter trained at both gyms every day, at the Joe Lewis - Muhammad Ali Gym in the morning and at the Jet Center in the afternoon. At this time ,Sugarfoot was fighting professionally in both boxing in kickboxing. He began to gravitate towards kickboxing, and in 1986 after losing a controversial boxing Lightweight title fight, decided to focus solely on kickboxing.

Acting[edit]

Peter is also an actor with several movies to his credit.[35] In his first role, Cunningham played the lightweight champion fighter Frank Peters and faced off with action star Jean-Claude Van Damme in the 1986 martial arts film No Retreat, No Surrender.[36] He was also featured in the 1986 Yuen Biao/Corey Yuen film Righting Wrongs.[37] In addition, Peter guest starred opposite David Carradine on the Kung Fu: The Legend Continues[38] television series (1993) and worked on big budget feature I Spy (2002), where he doubled Eddie Murphy. Most recently, Peter was in The Fighter (2010), playing the role of Mike 'Machine Gun' Mungin.[39]

On set of The Fighter, 2010

Trainer[edit]

After retiring from competition, Peter continued his career in martial arts as a successful trainer. He has and is continuing to train top professional fighters, amateur fighters, as well as teaching classes for general public, including kids and adults. Over the years, he has trained many World Champion amateur and professional fighters in boxing and kickboxing, as well as well-known celebrities. In 2014, Cunningham was invited to be one of the coaches of the USA Kickboxing Team, and he brought his star pupil German Baltazar along with him. Together, they have led the team to gold medals in several international tournaments and events, including the 2014 Irish Kickboxing Open, 2014 WAKO (World Association of Kickboxing Organizations) tournament in Canada, 2014 Brazilian Kickboxing World Cup and a history-making USA vs. Cuba tournament in Havana, Cuba in 2015.

Other[edit]

Peter grew up with siblings Julie, Zoey, Natalie, Vertille, Bert and Patrick. His son Chazz Christian Cunningham was born in 1998.[40] As of 2016, Sugarfoot trains fighters and teaches classes at Team Karate Centers in Woodland Hills.

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Boxing

  • Edmonton Golden Gloves – Gold Medal – 1981[41]
  • Canadian Games – Bronze Medal – 1981
  • #1 ranked Lightweight boxer in Canada (fought for Canadian Lightweight boxing title) – 1986

Kickboxing and Muay Thai

  • W.K.A (World Karate Association) Lightweight World Champion[42]
  • W.K.A. Super Lightweight World Champion[43]
  • W.K.A. Junior Welterweight World Champion[44]
  • K.I.C.K. (Karated International Council of Kickboxing) Super Lightweight World Champion[45]
  • I.M.F. (International Muay Thai Federation) Junior Welterweight World Champion[46]
  • W.M.A.C. World Junior Welterweight World Champion
  • I.S.K.A. (International Sport Karate Association) Welterweight World Champion
  • I.S.K.A. inaugural Hall of Fame inductee – 1998[47]
  • Martial Arts Hall of Fame – 2013

Notable fights[edit]

  • Sakad Petchyindee (twice) – 1988 in Anaheim, California (draw); 1990 in Sydney, Australia (win)
  • Dida Diafat (twice) – 1992 in Paris, France (win); 1996 in Paris, France (win, retirement fight)
  • Ronnie Green – 1993 in Las Vegas, Nevada (win)
  • Lafayette Lawson – 1990 in Las Vegas, Nevada (win)
  • Asuka Nobuya – 1989 in Hollywood, California (win)
  • Richard Sylla – 1986 in Paris, France (loss)
  • Prasert Kitikasem – 1989 in Anaheim, California (win)

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 13. ISBN 1494325551.
  2. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 13. ISBN 1494325551.
  3. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1993. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  4. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 13. ISBN 1494325551.
  5. ^ "Peter Cunningham Biography".
  6. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1996. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  7. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1996. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  8. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1996. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  9. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1996. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  10. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1996. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  11. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  12. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  13. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  14. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  15. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1995. p. 4. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  16. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 2. ISBN 1494325551.
  17. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 135. ISBN 1494325551.
  18. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 135. ISBN 1494325551.
  19. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 135. ISBN 1494325551.
  20. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 135. ISBN 1494325551.
  21. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 135. ISBN 1494325551.
  22. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 135. ISBN 1494325551.
  23. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 148. ISBN 1494325551.
  24. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. pp. 135/136. ISBN 1494325551.
  25. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 136. ISBN 1494325551.
  26. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 136. ISBN 1494325551.
  27. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 136. ISBN 1494325551.
  28. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 136. ISBN 1494325551.
  29. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. pp. 136/137. ISBN 1494325551.
  30. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 137. ISBN 1494325551.
  31. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 137. ISBN 1494325551.
  32. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 137. ISBN 1494325551.
  33. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. 2013. p. 149. ISBN 1494325551.
  34. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. 2013. p. 150. ISBN 1494325551.
  35. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  36. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  37. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  38. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  39. ^ "Peter Cunningham IMDB".
  40. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 148. ISBN 1494325551.
  41. ^ Testimonials of a Legendary Champion. NLD Co. 2013. p. 138. ISBN 1494325551.
  42. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 2015. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  43. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1995. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  44. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1995. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  45. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1995. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  46. ^ Civilized Warring. Galt Publishing. 1995. p. 192. ISBN 0-9649331-0-1.
  47. ^ "Peter Cunningham Biography".