Troy Dorsey Interview

Troy Dorsey

Texan Troy Dorsey has not received the accolades he deserves. Although few fighters in the history of the martial arts have even come close to his ring accomplishments, he has never received the publicity, credit and fame he truly has earned. This lack of recognition stems from the fact that he is so modest, and shies away from publicity rather than seeks it. Nevertheless, Troy Dorsey is without question the greatest all-around fighter in the history of fighting sports …
He won the WAKO World Title in both point fighting and full contact kickboxing on the same day. In London, England, where he had to fight many tough elimination bouts in both point karate and full contact kickboxing, Dorsey went back and forth, with few pauses, from ring to ring, and ended up with arguably the most prestigious world titles in both of these sports. In Munich, Germany, at the WAKO World Championships, he attempted the same feat. He won the full contact title, then, in the finals of point karate accidentally dropped his opponent for the count and, consequently, was disqualified. The fierce Texan furthered his career by winning four major pro kickboxing world titles. He won the PKO World Title, as well as World Titles in two different ISKA weight divisions. His final pro kickboxing record was 33 wins, 2 losses, both losses coming via very disputable “hometown decisions.” Then, he tested his skills in pro boxing and became world champion for two different professional boxing sanctioning organizations. He won both the IBF Featherweight title and the Jr. Lightweight crown of the IBO.

Troy Dorsey
Rudy Smedley in Troy Dorsey’s corner during his PKA world title fight against Felipe Garcia in El Paso 1987.

These incredible feats will in all probability never be duplicated. Neither will his aggressive style of fighting. It is hard to imagine how such a nice, modest person could be so vicious and aggressive in the ring. Dorsey is famous for his all-out attacks on his opponents: whether boxing or kickboxing, regardless of the number of rounds, the tough Texan always attacked relentlessly. He never let up for a second nor did he ever take a step backwards. A Troy Dorsey fight always meant guaranteed, nonstop action. This exciting style put him in great demand for the national television audience, where his fights were aired many times. Troy Dorsey was born in Mansfield, Texas in 1962 and attended Mansfield High School. His upbringing was fairly strict, but his parents managed to instill in him a strong work ethic and good morals. This work ethic gave him the drive to reach his near impossible goals and become the great human being and mentor he is today. He is married to wife Leslie, whose neverending support enabled him to achieve his goals, and has two daughters, Kendra (14) and Shelly (9).

Troy Dorsey kickboxing
Dorsey beating German Jurgen Jakob for the WAKO World amateur kickboxing championships in London, 1985.

M.A.D. Tell us a little about your early martial art training. Who was your instructor and what style did you study?

Dorsey: I began my martial art career in 1973 under Jim Choate. My style was American Tae Kwon Do from the Pat Burleson system (Commonly known as Tex Kwon Do). My boxing and kickboxing trainer, who began training me in 1983, was Casey Malone. The biggest help came from my brothers Brian and Rodney, as they were my constant training partners. Brian became a national kickboxing champion and was a member of the WAKO-USA National Team. The instructor who made the biggest impact on my early development was Jimmy Wilson. He was really an inspiration and a mentor.

M.A.D. Does Mr. Wilson still work with you today?

Dorsey: No. He was murdered. He was mistaken for someone else in a local karate feud in Ft. Worth and was gunned down in 1993. Jimmy inspired and encouraged me to get through the hard times and physical tribulations of making black belt in a very tough system and shaped me both technically and mentally. He was responsible for building a strong foundation that ultimately gave me the physical ability and attitude necessary to become a world champion. It was a terrible loss for me, as I cared for him dearly.

In addition to his first fullcontact title, Tro Dorsey wins the WAKO world championships in point fighting in London 1985. This image shows him together with Georg Bruckner and German Harald Rogner who was his final opponent.

M.A.D. Who was your main martial art hero?

Dorsey: Demetrius “The Golden Greek” Havanas. I used to watch him dominate everyone in both point and full contact competition and wanted to be just like him. Early in my career, “The Greek” was nice enough to come train with me several times a week. This really made me tough, honed my skills, and gave me first hand knowledge of what it would take to become a real champion. Before his sudden death in a plane crash, Demetrius was the greatest. He once told me something that has stuck with me and motivated me ever since, “Train hard and fight easy”. By this, he meant that if you trained realty hard, your fights would be much easier.

M.A.D. We’ll certainly not argue that point with you. He’ll surely be nominated to the M.A.D. Fighter’s Hall of Fame in the future. Who was your toughest opponent in the sport of point karate, and why?

Dorsey: Tim Kirby and Al Garza, both from Texas, were my toughest opponents. When you fought them, it wasn’t just a game of tag. It was a real war! Against either of these two, I knew I was in for a really tough time.

M.A.D. What about kickboxing?

Dorsey: My toughest opponent in kickboxing was a Russian, Alexei Nachaev. I fought him in Laughlin, Nevada. He knocked me down in the first round.

M.A.D. Then, what happened?

Dorsey: I knocked him down several times before taking him out in the fifth round.

M.A.D. Pro boxing?

Dorsey: My toughest opponent in professional boxing was “Jesse” James Leija. When I fought him for the NABF North American Title, he cut me 5 times, so the doctor stopped the fight after the fifth round.

M.A.D. What’s your favorite food?

Dorsey: Mexican

M.A.D. Favorite music?

Dorsey: Contemporary Christian.

M.A.D. Movie star? Movie?

Dorsey: Actor, Harrison Ford. Movie, “Armageddon”

Jorge Paez
Two exciting fights with Jorge Paez made Troy Dorsey a legend in pro boxing.

M.A.D. Troy, you have two successful karate schools, one in Dallas and one in Mansfield. At your schools, do you teach your students the easy, more commercial brand of karate, or the old style, hardcore method?

Dorsey: Hard and disciplined, Texas style. What else?

M.A.D. What do you stress most in the teaching of your students?

Dorsey: Character building is the most important. I stress discipline, respect and attitude. try really hard to build self-esteem. Disciplined kids grow up to be successful adults. I really stress the pitfalls of using drugs and alcohol.

M.A.D. Years ago, you were a real party animal. Today, however, you are deeply religious. What made you change?

Dorsey: In 1997, a lot of bad things happened within my family. My father-in-law died. I was distraught. It was a very difficult time for me. I knew that the only way to make it through this time was through Jesus Christ. I accepted Jesus as my personal savior and my life completely changed for the better. I had been raised a Christian but had strayed from the path. I am now a devout Christian, very happy, and I owe everything to Jesus Christ.

M.A.D. What about your diet?

Dorsey: Up till 1993, 1 would only eat one meal per day in order to keep my weight down. This meal usually consisted of only a bowl of rice or a bowl of beans. In 1993, my father-in-law took me to a professional nutritionist. She used her knowledge and a computer to determine the diet I needed for what I wanted to achieve. After that, I ate four meals a day, yet still kept my weight down and felt a lot stronger and had more endurance.

M.A.D. Thank you for this interview, Troy. It was really a pleasure. Before closing, is there anything else you’d like to say to our readers?

Troy Dorsey vs Felipe Gercia
Victory after defeating Felipe Garcia for the ISKA title in 1987.

Dorsey: I want to thank my Lord Jesus Christ for the success I’ve had in my career, as well as the success I’m having with my schools today. I know all things are possible through Jesus, so He deserves the credit. I want to thank my wife, Leslie, for always being there for me, and my great parents for getting me involved in the martial arts and always giving me their support.

Editor’s Note: Troy Dorsey, we are happy to announce, is currently making a series of fighting and training videos. They should be completed by the time this issue of M.A.D. is on the newsstands. These videos will surely contain instructional material that is extremely valuable to the serious fighter or trainer. For more info about these videos, or for those of you interested in communicating with Mr. Dorsey log on to:

M.A.D. How about giving our readers some training tips? When you were an active competitor, what did your training consist of? What does it take to become a multisport champion of the world?

Dorsey. My daily training when I wasn’t preparing for a fight, consisted of:

1) In the morning, I ran 3-6 miles at least 5-6 days a week. I would stretch out prior to, and following, my run.

2) 1 would do 20-30 minutes bag training, daily.

3) After my workout, I would always stretch out. When I was preparing for a fight, I did the same morning stretching and running routine. Then, in the evening, I would:

1) Spar 4-9 rounds. 3-minute rounds kickboxing, when I was in kickboxing, and 4-minute rounds when I was boxing.

2) Work the focus mitts 3-4 rounds.

3) Do 2-4 rounds on the heavy bag, and then 2-4 rounds on the double-ended bag.

4) Jump rope for 20-30 minutes. During this time, my trainer would hit my body hard at least 20 times every five minutes.

5) Do isometric neck exercises.

6) Then, on the kicking shield, I would do 4 x 120 front kicks per minute doing 3-minute rounds, when I was preparing for a kickboxing match. For a boxing match, I. would do 100 120 front kicks per minute for 4-minute rounds: This was really the hardest part of my training, but it really get you in shape, in more ways than one.

7) To complete my day, I would stretch out again.


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