The main source of this article is the sept 1975 issue of the newspaper "Oriental Fighting Arts".
On May, the 10th, 1975, Aaron Banks, with the help of Bob Arum, organizes at Long-Island, the World Professional Karate Championships (for his federation, the World Professional Karate Organization, WPKO). The fights took place with KO. New world titles are awarded at the end of the tournament. This is the second major tournament of this type, after the September the 14th, 1974, in Los Angeles.
The fights took place for 3 rounds, in a ring, something new. Fighters are wearing gloves, but no feet protections. Knee blows are allowed. The combatants are sometimes waist stripped or are wearing a kimono. These details have more to do with Kick-Boxing than with Full-Contact.
A tournament with KO rules is also organized for women during the evening. A fight between a woman, Beth Bussey and a man, Joe Hess, has already taken place at the Oriental World of Self Defense, in June 1974, also organized by Aaron Banks. Joe Hess has put his opponent to the canvas, but she gets up and loses on points. He measures 6'22 ", weighs 270 lbs, and is aged with 35, while Beth Bussey weighs 125 lbs.
On May, the 10th, 1975, the ABC TV filmed the event and Ed Parker makes comments.
Various preliminary fights are taking place, between unknown fighters.
Tournament for women or mixed :
Marion Bermudez, Kempo Karate, beats Anthony Suarez (a man practicing Goju-Ryu). The referee is Chuck Norris. Marion Bermudez beats his opponent on points.
Marion Bermudez (left) vs Anthony Suarez and a well known referee
Beth Bussey fights with Fay Schreibman, practicing Kempo. The two women bleed from the nose after a few blows. Fay Schreibman wins at the beginning of the 3rd round, when her opponent can not answer the bell.
Tournament for men :
Lightweights : Tayari Casel is practicing Kung-Fu or Bando. He has participated in the Oriental World of Self Defense in 1974, losing against Little John Davis, Karate, on points 24-25;t o the Third Staten Island Championships and the Tournament of the Century 1973, where he has beaten Preston Baker. Casel has also participated in the 1974 free style tournament with contact, in New York organized by Fred Hamilton. He beats on points Ronnie Long, and Ronald Bass, before losing against Harry Grump. During this tournament with ko, the fighters were not wearing protection.
For the WPKO, Casel doesn't agree with the fight rules and exits from the ring before the fight. He comes back at the request of organizers. He is opposed to Benny Urquidez, a confirmed champion in traditional fights or full-contact. Casel falls intentionally to the ground and fights his opponent from the canvas. After several blows exchanges, the referee gives Casel a count, and the latter refuses to stand up. At the end of the 3 rounds, Benny Urquidez is declared the winner, on points.
Casel battles from the canvas and Urquidez is standing
Middleweights : Kasim Dubur (Dubar), Yugoslavia Karate champion, has already fought at a full-contact tournament, losing his match. After that, he has trained in boxing. Dubur also participated in the 1974 free style contact tournament, organized by Fred Hamilton and lost against Errol Bennet.
For the WPKO, Dubur meets also Errol Bennet, U.S. National champion, practicing Shotokan. Each fighter falls to the canvas, but Dubur is declared the winner on points. The referee is Chuck Norris.
Light heavyweights : For the WPKO, Fred Miller fights Darnell Garcia, Karate instructor in the Chuck Norris' School. Garcia, in the 3rd round, suffered from a removed shoulder. Fred Miller wins on points.
Miller practices karate, possibly Shotokan and has already took place in a tournament organized by Aaron Banks, Connecticut vs. New York, in 1971. He had finished 2nd. Fred Miller also participated in the 1974 free style tournament organized of Fred Hamilton and had defeated Dennis Davis and Young Jerry Steward.
Heavyweights : Joe Hess, practicing Goju-Ruy, beats by tko Ernest Hyman (Ernest Heyman) practicing the same art. His opponent is unable to answer the bell at the beginning of the 3rd round. During the fight, Joe Hess gives a shuto with his hand, on Hyman's neck. It is prohibited by the rules. Hess is not penalized, while his opponent is severely affected. Hyman had already participated in a tournament organized by Aaron Banks, Connecticut vs. New York, in 1971 and has finished 2nd in the heavyweights.
Hess, on the left, gives a knee blow to Hyman
Who are they and where are they now :
Joe Hess practices judo (5th Dan), kung-fu and karate Goju-Ryu (6th Dan). In 1972, he wins the U.S. Karate Champion? He is also an instructor for police department.
Darnel Garcia beats Joe Lewis in 1972 , for the Internationals, organized by Ed Parker. In 1974, he lost against Jeff Smith, also for the Internationals. He appears in the film "New Gladiators", from 1974, with Benny Urquidez. He works for the Los-Angeles police department.
Fred Miller beats Mike Mobley, on points, for the light-heavyweights world title, at the World Professional Karate Championships, in 1976.
Tayari Casel has participated in other Karate tournaments, as the Top Ten Nationals, the AKA Grand Nationals and the Battle of Atlanta. He is currently an Kung-Fu instructor.
In 1974, Marion Bermudez wins the Rocky Mountain Tournament, beating Marlene Beum. The same year, she wins the Ed Parker's Internationals, beating Mikie Rowe. She also wins a free style tournament in Arizona, against men. She also beats Lilly Urquidez, for a match full-contact.
Marion Bermudez was the winner of the 1975 Internationals, as a brown belt.
March 1975 Marion Bermudez has amateur boxing fights, during the Golden Gloves, in Phoenix, against men, beating Edwardo Porras on points, and loosing to Fernando Granillo, in the first round. She is a student in engineering. She also beats a woman, Ersi Arvizu, on points in 3 rounds, at The Lake Tahoe. At this point, Marion Bermudez has a 6-0 record in pro boxing. According to boxrec, she has a record of two fights, two wins, won by ko in 1976 and 1977.
Currently, Anthony Suarez teaches Goju-Ryu Karate. He is a 7th dan.
Benny Urquidez is the subject of a separate article in this blog.
The career of Aaron Banks is mentioned in the article "Tournaments and promoter"
Organized by Aaron Banks, also practicing Goju-Ryu, this Championship hosts many practitioners of this style. Most of the fighters are coming from New York, the city of Aaron Banks. No detail is given about how they were selected.
Fighters, except Benny Urquidez, will not have after the tournament, a notorious career in Full-Contact.
Many similarities exist between this World Championship and the one organized in 1974 by Mike Anderson, at Los-Angeles. We quote :
- The presence of Chuck Norris as a referee (judge in Los Angeles)
- Only one fighter has a serious experience in fighting with KO, Benny Urquidez (Joe Lewis in Los Angeles)
- The presence of ABC to film the fights, which will create a problem for this channel, already in connection with the PKA, for the same issue of Wide World of Sports.
- The creation of a federation just before the championships, the WPKO (PKA-Los Angeles).
Some opposition also existed between Mike Anderson and Aaron Banks.
We founds no video from the fights.
We are not aware of a possible second edition of the WPKO championships.