Stephen Thompson

Stephen Thompson

Simpsonville, South Carolina’s Stephen “Wonderboy” Thompson, who just recently turned 20 years old, is regarded by insiders as the best kickboxer to emerge in the past two decades. Many believe that, barring injury or lack of incentives in the kick-boxing sport, he will emerge as the best kickboxer ever. The 186-pound cruiserweight has already amassed a record of 27 wins against no losses, with 16 KOs. Eight of those KOs are attributed to his devastating kicks. This means he’s already scored more kick knockouts than anyone in the history of North American kickboxing, by far. He recently won one of his several national titles by stopping his opponent with the first move of the bout, a roundhouse kick to the arm. It broke his very muscular opponent’s arm! “Wonderboy” just moved up in weight from Light Heavyweight to Cruiser. His first bout was against IKF U.S. Cruiserweight Champ, Bill Jardine of Mondovi, Wisconsin. Thompson opped Jardine in the first round with a powerful right hand and it looked like the fight was over, but he got up at the count of 9, then both treated the 1,600 screaming fans to a 5-round war. Thompson won by unanimous decision. This was not a title fight, so Jardine retained his cruiserweight title. M.A.D. Publisher/Editor Mike Anderson says, “I’ve been kicked by some of the hardest kickers in history, like Bruce Lee, Joe Lewis and Allen Steen. Still, I’ve never seen anyone kick nearly as hard as Stephen Thompson. It’s scary!” Stephen was born on February 11, 1983 in Greenville, South Carolina. He was raised in Simpsonville and considers it to be his hometown. He had a very happy and simple upbringing there, and credits himself as a lifelong jokester. Stephen played soccer at a young age but now greatly prefers the feel of a cranium against his foot over that of a soccer ball. He also has an affliction for climbing large structures and doing flips from them, as well as jumping over obstacles and performing shoulder rolls.
In Simpsonville, Stephen attended Simpsonville Elementary School and Hillcrest High School. Under the exclusive tutelage of his father, Ray Thompson, Steven (at age 3) began his study of karate. His pursuit of martial arts mastery lead him to train in the disciplines of kempo, jiu jitsu, kickboxing, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In 17.5 years of training Stephen has achieved the ranks of 4th degree black belt in Tetsushin Ryu Kempo Karate, 1st degree in Tetsushin Ryu Jujitsu, and 2nd degree in Tetsushin Ryu Kickboxing. Stephen’s biggest complaint about the karate industry is all of the bickering and lack of cooperation between organizations. M.A.D.
Editor’s note: After having heard this complaint in interviews from almost every competitor, we’ve come up with this analogy: The karate industry is like a wartorn third world country in which every car has an A.K. 47 in the front seat and a “Visualize World Peace” sticker on the rear bumper!

Respect others and they will respect you, be aggressive toward them and they will return in kind. Nothing is free — not money, skill, or friends. They all must be earned.

Diet “Simple – I see it, I eat it.” Training Schedule Monday, Wednesday, Friday-5am- 3.5 mile run 2pm-9:30pm teaches karate at father’s school 9:30pm- 20 min. light calisthenics, three rounds on bag (for power), six rounds of sparring for speed and technique, and finishes up with 200 ab crunches. Tuesday, Thursday-5am- 6 mile run 2pm-9:30pm teaches karate at father’s school 9:30pm- 20 min. light calisthenics, three rounds on bag (for power), six rounds of sparring for speed and technique, and finishes up with 200 ab crunches.

Music: Alternative, Elvis, Dean Martin and occasionally country. Movie: The Matrix. Actor: Jet Li and Jackie Chan. Food: Flo’s Filet from Longhorn Steakhouse. Hobbies: Working on his Dodge Stealth II, playing basketball, and paint gun wars. Event: 2002 Fall Brawl in the Foothills/IKF N. American Championships (the arena was packed with hometown fans). Technique: Jab, sidekick combination.


Troy Dorsey
This interview was published inside the August 2003 issue of Martial Arts Digest.