Ishe Smith former IBF light middleweight World champion SIGNED (gold sharpie) and INSCRIBED "Psalm 27" promotional 7" x 5" photo.
Ishe Oluwa Kamau Bhoduri Ali "Sugar Shay" Smith (born July 22, 1978, Las Vegas) current IBF light middleweight champion. He was a competitor on the first season of the reality TV show The Contender (2005). Ishe Oluwa in the Yoruba language means "Work of God."
A devoted Christian, Smith wears Psalm 27 on the back of his trunks. He also has it tattooed on his neck. Smith and his wife Latoya divorced in 2008; they share custody of their three children: Ishe, Jr., Ajani, and Noelani Smith.
Early Life And Education
Smith grew up in Nevada with his siblings cared for by his mother, stating that he never knew his father.
As an amateur Smith competed on the national stage for years, making it to the finals of the US National Championships in 1996, losing a competitve match on points to Hector Camacho Jr, and in 1999 losing on points in another close bout in the quarter-finals of the US National Championships to Larry Mosley, who went on to win the tournament.
Marriage And Family
Smith married Latoya about 1998. They had three children together: Ishe, Jr., Ajani, and Noelani Smith. The couple divorced in 2008 and share custody of their children.
Ishe Smith was a strong prospect early in his career, primarily as a good counter-puncher with excellent defensive skills. He won his first fourteen fights 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.
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. In an economical punching fight, Smith scored a knockdown in the second round and showed better defence, 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. He cried in joy following the match.
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. 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.
Smith won his arbitration trial earlier this year. 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. He has said that he is very happy with the Golden Boy Promotions.
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.
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 Cesar Chavez, 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.
On February 23, 2013 Ishe Smith won a split decision victory over Cornelius Bundrage to become the new IBF Light middleweight champion.
On September 14, 2013 Ishe Smith lost the IBF Light Middleweight title to Carlos Molina by split decision. Many commentators regarded the fight as a humdrum affair lacking any meaningful action, specifically on Ishe'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, instead he faced Ryan Davis on May 2, 2014. Smith knocked Davis out at the end of the second round.
Golden Boy Promotions
After Golden Boy Promotions signed numerous other fighters, including many former and current champions, Smith had become idle because, he said, the company was holding cards to feature more known names than his. He was frustrated and said that he was considering joining the UFC, because he was in desperate need of a fight.