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Longtime friend competes in two arenas
by Maurice Dixon
mdixon@neighbornewspapers
July 10, 2013 05:46 PM | 1690 views | 1 1 comments | 42 42 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Special Photo<br>Luther Smith looks to make an impact in muay Thai and boxing at the heavyweight level.
Special Photo
Luther Smith looks to make an impact in muay Thai and boxing at the heavyweight level.
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Since I lived on Nun Street (in the early 80s) in Wilmington, North Carolina, I’ve been aware of how hard my longtime friend, Fraz properly known as Luther Smith, was able to punch just from child’s play. When we became teenagers, I was reminded once more through just kidding around while others felt the sting unfortunately from disputes that turned physical.

“Maybe it’s genetic but I really don't know,” Smith said. “Well, I am a country boy.”

Now, on an amateur level, and void of legal consequences, heavyweight opponents in Maryland are being introduced to Smith’s punching power as well in muay Thai and boxing.

Last summer, Smith took a liking to the sport of muay Thai while accompanying his oldest son, Dante, who participates in Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Crazy 88s.

“When I would bring him I would look around and see what else was going on and I noticed that there was a muay Thai program there with kickboxing and found myself being drawn to that,” Smith said. “I took some classes, signed up for the 30-day trial and ended up staying there and doing it.”

But learning the craft and not putting it the test is almost out of the question for someone as competitive as Fraz.

“I spent a lot of time there training and to compete is the only time to showcase what you learned so that was what aided my decision to compete there,” Smith said. “Plus the people there were great and the training was second to none.”

After soaking in all the instruction from trainer Jason Farrell and numerous hours of sparring, Smith dominated his opponent during his debut at a Smoker in Virginia Beach in February. His opponent had double the in-ring experience but physically lacked discipline and eventually went with the option of “No Mas” after the first round.

“I was surprised how out of shape he was,” Smith said. “I can't believe somebody who claims to be a fighter would come in there like that. I wasn't really worried about his skills but I was just focused on putting my game plan into action.”

And believe me folks, when it comes to conditioning, Fraz isn’t the pot calling the kettle black. Even though Smith is 34, a husband, a father of five and a full-time computer engineer for Raytheon, he is still chiseled at 225 pounds.

That just makes sense when you’re a winner of the genetic lottery (Fraz is also 6-4), stick to a disciplined diet, in the gym five times a week but no less than three times a week, and sparring 10 rounds or more each session.

“The positive in getting a late start is no pre-existing injuries,” Farrell said. “Sometimes, young guys come in from other sports and are already so banged up from those sports they have an immediate shelf life regardless of age. Obviously being younger is better, but he has a maturity and work ethic that takes time for a lot of young guys to learn and appreciate.”

Now with his amateur boxing debut set for Aug. 3, Smith has taken those same training habits to Farrell’s new facility, Level Up Boxing and Fitness.

“Jason was at Crazy 88s for almost six years,” Smith said. “Everybody that came up doing muay Thai at 88 is under his tutelage. He is the reason why I'm as sharp as I am now as far as being an amateur.”

Then if the schedule holds, Smith will partake in his second muay Thai fight Sept. 21, when nothing will be more important than sticking to the script.

“I'm just trying to execute my game plan,” said the southpaw. “The hard part is already done. When you get into the ring and fight the hard part is over because you've been training months and months before, working on your game plan. Now, it is time to execute.”

“Being elusive is one of the things I focus on with Luther,” Farrell said. “Making people miss and making them pay for it. He can move well for a big guy and he has natural power.”

Yes, something people all the way from New Hanover High School to Hawaii can agree with whether they like to or not.

As far as having one of those interesting nicknames fighters have always adopted, Fraz is leaning towards “Super” Luther Smith and Farrell likes “Lights Out” Luther Smith.

“I think he is going to put some people to sleep for sure,” Farrell said.
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AVELLA BALLAD
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July 11, 2013
IT'S GREAT TO SEE SOMEONE FROM WILMINGTON BEING A POSITIVE EXAMPLE TO THE HOMETOWN CHILDREN. IT'S SO RARE NOW. CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS AND I HOPE THAT YOUR HARD WORK TAKES YOU FAR IN THE GAME.
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