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“Bonecrusher” tells students to roll with the punches

“Bonecrusher” tells students to roll with the punches

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James “Bonecrusher” Smith speaks to studentsrn and faculty at ... (more)

02.15.2005Special Events

LILLINGTON, NC–Former heavyweight boxing championrn James “Bonecrusher” Smith has fought in packedrn arenas in Las Vegas, New York and London. On Tuesday,rn he was in the multipurpose room at the Harnett campusrn of Central Carolina Community College (CCCC) championingrn education and perseverance as he spoke to students andrn faculty as part of the college’s celebration ofrn Black History Month.

rn Since retiring from the boxing ring, Smith, who now residesrn in Lillington, has thrown his hat into the ring of motivatingrn and helping young people.rn He started his own nonprofit foundation, Champion forrn Kids, Inc., to provide mentors and scholarships for highrn school and at-risk students and spends a lot of timern speaking to and encouraging elementary, middle schoolrn and high school students.

rn Smith, who said he, his wife and one of his three childrenrn are products of North Carolina community colleges, toldrn his audience of college students that they could succeedrn despite any obstacles and used his unlikely boxing careerrn as an example.

rn Smith was 28 years old (the age other boxers had retiredrn at) when he took up professional boxing. “Theyrn said I was too old,” Smith said of his skepticsrn at the time. He also had to overcome the fact that hern was from North Carolina–not exactly the centerrn of the boxing universe. “I had to blaze a trailrn and have a lot of confidence.” Smith said thatrn tackling challenges gave him confidence and he encouragedrn the audience to do the same. “You get confidencern by doing and getting experience.”

rn Smith, who was the first heavyweight champion to graduatern from college, told CCCC students that a crucial partrn of succeeding is staying committed. Smith got knockedrn out in his nationally televised professional debut, butrn with commitment and determination he won his next 14rn bouts. “You will get knocked down in life and howrn successful you are is determined by how many times yourn get up, brush yourself off and keep at it,” hern told the students.

rn Smith’s resolve paid off for him. At 33, he knockedrn out heavyweight champion Tim Witherspoon in the firstrn round. Smith told the students they can accomplish theirrn dreams as well if they use education as the foundation. “Whateverrn you decide to do in life, this is a big step here atrn Central Carolina.,” he told them.

rn Smith encouraged the students to read, study, be passionatern and make smart decisions as they take each step in theirrn lives. “Have a passion about who you are and whatrn you do,” he said. “Choices determine successrn in your life. Make good, positive decisions and goodrn things will happen to you.”

rn The Diversity Committee and Staff Development Departmentrn at CCCC helped organize this and other events that willrn be held throughout February on the campuses of CCCC torn celebrate Black History Month.