Father Dave Smith is best known for his work with at-risk youth, especially in his use of boxing for those suffering from substance abuse problems and anger management issues. He is also a 6th degree black belt and a professional boxer. His progression into martial arts and boxing happened while he was attempting to raise funds for the community in Dulwich Hill, where he is the parish priest.
Father Dave has been twice awarded Marrickville Citizen of the Year award and was nominated for Australian of the Year in 2004 and 2009. In 2012, he broke the world record for the most continuous rounds of boxing. Born in Newtown, Sydney, in 1962, he completed an arts degree with honours in philosophy in 1984 before beginning studying theology at Moore College in 1985. He completed two degrees in theology in 1988 and was ordained a priest in the Anglican Church of Australia in 1989.
After ordination, Smith spent two years in the parish of Miranda (in Sydney’s south) before being appointed to Dulwich Hill (in Sydney’s inner-west) in December 1990. He has continued as parish priest at Holy Trinity since then.
When Smith became the parish priest in Dulwich Hill it was known as an area that was rife with drugs. In 1991, he began to focus on working with young people with drug problems in the area and opened the church hall as an area where local youth could do fitness and martial arts training. In 1993, he founded the Order of the Fighting Fathers as a way of encouraging other priests and religious people to use the fighting arts to help young people overcome their addictions and lead fuller lives.
Smith's work in the community led him to twice be awarded the Marrickville Citizen of the Year award, in 1997 and 2009. In 2005 and 2009 he was also nominated for Australian of the Year, particularly for his work with young people battling substance abuse. In 2001, a short film was made about Smith, which is titled The Good Fight.
In 2011, Smith began training to break the world record for the longest period of continuous boxing. On 1 April 2012, he boxed continuously for eight hours - against 66 opponents over 120 three-minute rounds. He succeeded in breaking the world record and received extensive media coverage, including from Fox Sports. The previous world record before this attempt was 26 rounds. On 19 February 2016, Smith returned to professional boxing to raise money for youth programs and became Australia's oldest ever professional boxer.
Boxing Coach | 2000-02-02
6th Dan karate | 2009-06-03
Boxing World Record (Fundraiser) | 2006-03-02
Dulwich Hill Boxing | Head Coach