Born in Newark, New Jersey on December 25th, 1971 to Willie Smith and Lela Smith, and the 12th of 13 children, James T. Smith turned to Muay Thai after experiencing one of the biggest losses of his life, the passing of his mother, in January of 2001, to a grueling battle with cancer. James turned to Muay Thai as a means to release the anger and pain he harbored from the loss of his mother.
Shortly after his mother’s passing, James began training with Nak Muay Chris Tran and Mixed Martial Arts fighter James Gabert. He was nicknamed James B-52 Bomber (a/k/a B-52), due to his extensive knowledge and fondness of civilian and military aircraft, as well as his delivery of heavy punches and kicks.
In late 2005, Smith met and began training with fellow Muay Thai fighters Wayne Brown, Chul Chuck Choe and Damien Debose, who later would become members of the B-52 fight team. The three began training for matches together while also training interested students on a local level. In February, 2008, in response to the developing interest in Muay Thai, Smith and Brown founded Black Thaiger Academy. While teaching and attending Mauy Thai seminars, James crossed paths with world renowned Vladimir Borodin, who not only greatly influenced his fighting career, but also helped James further develop his fighting technique and style.
Soon after, James decided to transition his amateur Thai Boxing career to the professional arena, and made his professional debut at Louis Neglia’s Combat at the Capitale in New York City. Losing to Uriah Hall, WKA Regional Muay Thai Champion and Ring of Combat Champion (MMA), by a one point unanimous decision, James’s career which started off on a poor note gained momentum and became successful rather quickly. From here, Smith proceeded to win several consecutive fights which spanned varying organizations. During this streak, B-52 defeated two outstanding fighters, Zadie Morris and Kareem Ellington by knockout. These victories put James in contention for a title match.
Smith faced Punchin Pat Nwamu, in 2008 for a shot at the title of WKA Kickboxing Championship. Although a trained Muay Thai fighter, Smith agreed to fight the match based on the rules of kickboxing and took a split decision after six rounds to become the WKA United States Heavyweight Kickboxing Champion. James B-52 Smith’s Muay Thai career record is 14-3, with 5 fights by way of knockout.
In 2011 the World Boxing Council ranked James Smith as #1 in the United States. James has also been rank #15 worldwide.
While succeeding as a fighter, Smith has been developing his teaching skills under the tutelage of Ajarn Chai Sirusute, Nak Muay Chris Tran and Kru Vladimir Borodin. James aspires to be an inspirational instructor much like Sirusute, Tran and Borodin, exuding the passion he holds for Muay Thai to his students.
In 2010 James ventured on his own to form B-52 Muay Thai and the B-52 fight team.
Recently, Smith was invited to partake in what he considers a once in a life time opportunity, competing against some of the best heavy weights in the world in an arena, Enfusion, whose sole purpose is to draw attention to the sport of kickboxing. Smith is pursuing this with unprecedented zeal and relentless focus with the anticipation of showcasing his skills and passion for Muay Thai.
Smith is a licensed Inspector for the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board and regularly works MMA and kick boxing events.