> USA karate story : Chuck Norris - Joe Lewis - Bill Wallace: Dominique "The King" Valera

vendredi 4 avril 2008

Dominique "The King" Valera

Introduction :

Dominique Valera was born on June 18th 1947 in Lyon, France. He is 178 cm tall and is weighs is 82 kg. He begins with the judo, and after the traditional Karate. He becomes on several occasions France Champion, between 1966 and 1975. He also wins 4 titles of European Champion and 4 other titles of European Teams Champion .

In 1968, Valera is second at the European Championships, loosing vs Guy Sauvin, and he is first in 1969, beating Gilbert Gruss.

In 1970, in Hamburg/Germany, Valera loses against Richard Scherer, from the German team and the French team loses also against Germany.

In the individuals, Valera beats Censterdine/England, Veen/Netherlands and Higgins/England. In finals, he beats the French Gilbert Gruss.

Dominique Valera
1970 European Championships pictures

Valera reaches the 3rd place at the first World Karate Championships, in 1970, in Tokyo.Valera beats first Stanley Knighton/England and Sims/New-Zeland. In the quarter-finals, Valera beats Jorga/Yougoslavia. In semi-finals, Valera loses against the Japanese Wada.

Dominique Valera vs Knighton
Valera, rights, vs Knighton, Tokyo 1970.

It is sometimes mentioned that the French Team wins bronze medal, in 1970, in Tokyo. The American newspapers of the time, as Black Belt in March 1971, suggested that the team USA B finished 4th, after having beaten France. The first three teams are Japanese. To avoid controversy, we join the page of the newspaper No. 11 of 1970, from the German federation, showing the matches between teams and mentioning the elimination of France in the quarter-finals, http://www.%20chronik-karate.de/material/1970_11_DJB-Magazin.pdf

Dominique Valera Karate French Team 1970Down left, a reference to the elimination of the French Team by the USA.

To be complete, the excellent French site http://senseiruns.free.fr/index.php?page=pionniers presents this image, showing the French team as bronze medalist in 1970 ?

Dominique Valera Karate French Team 1970

Who was bronze medalist in 1970 ?

It's sometimes mentioned that Dominique Valera wins the Internationals Challenges (or World Cups) in Cannes/France in May 1969 and in New-York in August 1969. It is also stated that it was Karate fights tournaments, with KO on the body authorized.

We have found information about the tournament in New-York, the ICMA Convention and Commemorative Karate Championships in 1969. Valera beats first the Japanese Toyotaro Miyazaki and after beats Hawk Frazier, in a contested bout. Official Karate Magazine tell he had lost the fight and had a bad attitude after the fight. It is not written that contact was allowed during the fights.

Dominique Valera Hawk Frazier
Dominique Valera (with the belt) and Hawk Frazier, to his right, N.Y. 1969

In 1972, during the European Championships in Brussels/Belgium, the weight classes appear for the first time. In +80 kg, Valera def Otremba/Germany, Sturzebecher/Germany and Kallenbach/Netherlands, in the finals. The French team beats England.

Valera also wins the World Teams Champion title in 1972, in Paris.

In 1975, Valera makes his return during the European Championships and beats Willy Vos/Germany. In the finals, French team beats Switzerland.

In the heavyweights during the individuals, Fitkin/England beats Valera for his first fight. Valera loses against Codrington/England, who wins the finals. Valera finishes at the 3rd place.

In all categories, Valera def Günter Mohr/Germany, but loses in the semi-finals against the French Abdiranan, who will win the finals. Valera finishes at the 3rd place.

Long-Beach 1975 :

In 1975, he is disqualified for bad behaviour at the World Championships in Long-Beach/California. After being disqualified for excessive contact against his opponent, P. Antonio Rivera, Dominican Republic, Valera hits some referees. This little riot can be seen here : http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=wCEvTQeqNn4 and http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=5ijFbF5SYpI.

Rivera wins the third place at this World Championships. Dominique Valera is excluded of the WUKO.

Dominique Valera vs Antonio Rivera
Antonio Rivera left.

The French team, World Champion titleholder, has already been eliminated in the first round, the day before, against Australia. Dominique Valera has also lost his fight.

Full-Contact :

Dominique Valera visits a full-contact tournament in Berlin, in 1975, during the World Championship between Gordon Franks and Ramiro Guzman. He has an opportunity to make sparring with Bill Wallace. Dominated in this new form of fighting, the Frenchman goes to Memphis/USA, to train with the above cited. The French fighter is largely accompanied in his trip by the French newspaper Karate, which is transforming this journey into a real history.

Back in Europe, Dominica Valera gets various victories facing opponents, also beginners on the matter.

Regarding the difficulties for the implantation of Full-Contact in France, it appears that in 1976, the Directorate of the Sports, from the Ministry of Sports and Youth (MJS), has banned the teaching of Full-Contact. In 1978, the Full-Contact turns into American Boxing, with the creation of a National Committee of American Boxing (CNBA). In 1981, the MJS places CNBA under the authority of the French-Boxing Federation. In 1981, the French Federation of American Boxing is created. In 1982, the National Federation of American Boxing is introduced. The acceptance by the MJS of these federations will come later.

Dominique ValeraDec 1976 Karate issue.
The handcuffs symbolize the ban on the Full-Contact

In 1976, during the match between a team from the USA to a European selection, he participated with the American team, and beats the German Kunibert Back by ko in the first round. Some articles of the time claim that the final blow reached the German after the command of the referee to break. The images are on You Tube: http://fr.youtube.com/watch?v=9Y3rWkAYegc

Dominique Valera vs Kunibert Back
Valera (left) against Kunibert Back

In 1978, he meets Jeff Smith in Paris for the PKA light heavyweights World Title and loses on points, in 9 rounds. The fighters are wearing boxing gloves, and no more full-contact gloves.

Ippon newspaper Jeff Smith Dominique Valera
Ippon newspaper. Jeff Smith beats Dominique Valera

In 1979, in Madrid, Valera beats Angelo Jacquot, by ko et Ret., before the end of the fight scheduled for 7 rounds.

Pictures of the fight between Valera and Jacquot

In 1980, Valera is opposed to Dan Maracuso, for the PKA light heavyweights World Title and loses by ko, in the 6th round.

Dominique Valera vs Dan Maracuso
Against Dan Maracuso (left)

The question of recognition of the European title is set. In the Valera case, it was the WAKO Pro title. Indeed, the status between professionals and amateurs seems not clear at this time. For example, his opponent in 1976, Kunibert Back, fights in many amateur European Championships after his professional match against Valera.

We can find traces of Valera's opponents, only as winners, with the exception of the Norwegian Skog. Smith and Maracuso, World champions, have well-established records. Flavio Galessi has won numerous amateur WAKO championships. Fighters who lost against Dominique Valera seem to have left no trace in sport history. The exception is Kunibert Back, and his record mentioned in the article Full-Contact Development in Europe.

Conclusions :

The Valera nickname at the time was "The King" or "The Big Cat". His full-contact coach was Jacky Gerbet.

In traditional Karate, Dominica Valera is known for his sweeps, a legacy of his years of judo.

Currently, Dominique Valera has various schools and organizes Karate clinics, both traditional (aka Karate-Contact) and full-contact and is announced as a 8th Dan.

Many videos demonstrations against Bill Wallace or Rouffus are available on You Tube.

Record :

Traditional Karate
France Champion
1966/1969/1970/1972/1973 and 1975 (open) and in the heavyweights 72/73/75

European Champion
1968 2nd against Guy Sauvin/France
1969 1st against Gilbert Gruss/France
1970 1st against Gilbert Gruss/France
1971 1st
1972 1st against Kallenbach/France

European Team Champion
1968 1st against of Belgium
1969 1st against the United Kingdom
1970 2nd against Germany
1972 1st against England
1975 1st against Switzerland

1970 World Championships
Third place in the Open, behind Wada/Japan, Carnio/Canada and tied with Tullener/USA.

1972 World Championships
First place with his team, against Italy

Full-Contact :

Dominique Valera says he fought 5 times in the USA, before his return to France.
6. 05.10.1976: beats Basnight by ko in the 2nd round, in Paris
7. 05.25.1976: def K. Back by ko in the 1st round in Paris
8. 10.10.1976: def V. Safranic by ko in the 1st round, in Vienna/Austria, European Championship
9. 12.08.1976: def V. Safranic by ko in the 3rd round in Zagreb/YU, European Championship
10. 06.04.1977: def Angelo Jacquot, retirement in the 3, Paris, European Championship
11. 06.00.1977: lost to Skog, from Norway, by ko, Marseille, European Championship
12. 00.00.1978: def Angelo Jacquot, ko 5, European Championship in Geneva/Switzerland
13. 12.02.1977: win over Mike Lambert, by ko in 3, Lyon
14. 05.22.1978: lost on points in 9 rounds against Jeff Smith, Light heavyweights World Championship, Paris
15. 02.28.1979: def Angelo Jacquot by ko or ret, in Madrid, for the European Championship.
16. 03.22.1980: lost by ko in the 3rd round against Dan Maracuso, Light heavyweights World Championship, Brussels/Belgium
17. 11.00.1980: lost to Flavio Galessi, on cut, European Championships
18. 00.00.1982: beats Angelo Jacquot, by ko in the 3rd round, the last battle of Valera.

According to the official site of Dominique Valera, Karate Contact :

18 professional full-contact fights (14 wins, 4 losses), including four victorious European Championships (1976 and 1977) and two World Championships attempts (1978 and 1980).

Total (karate and full-contact mixed) :

701 fights, 674 wins, 17 defeats and 10 draws.

According to the newspaper 1982 Karate Magazine, above mentioned, Dominique Valera announced that his 4th fight against Jacquod would be the 700th. As he won, a traditional karate fight ? is missing to reach 701, because we already have the 18 full-contact fights ?

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