Our most recent article “A Rite of Passage – The Kearny Martial Arts Black Belt Test” provided an in-depth look into the rich history and tradition that lies behind the KMA Black Belt test. The test’s reputation as a hard core, traditional test has long attracted a distinguished list of honorary guests and celebrities. Among others, Grandmaster Gary Alexander and the late Grandmaster Johnny Kuhl have been honored guests many times. This most recent black belt test, our dojo was again honored to welcome back KMA black belt Chuck Wepner and his wife Linda.
Chuck Wepner is a personal friend of Grandmaster Marchetti and their friendship goes back nearly forty years. Chuck is a former heavyweight boxer who holds the distinction of being the only man to have fought Sonny Liston, George Foreman and Muhammad Ali. He is widely regarded as “The Real Rocky” because his heavyweight title fight against Muhammad Ali on March 24, 1975 served as the inspiration for Sylvester Stallone’s billion dollar Rocky film franchise. During that fight, Chuck Wepner, a 40-to-1 underdog, stunned the boxing world by becoming only the third man to knock Ali down when he hit him with a hard punch to the body in the ninth round; the fight lasted late into the fifteenth round.
More recently, Chuck Wepner was the subject of a made-for-television documentary titled “The Real Rocky” that was featured on ESPN. A feature film titled “The Bleeder” will be released this summer starring Liev Schreiber and Naomi Watts.
Despite his celebrity status, Chuck Wepner makes it a point to visit Kearny Martial Arts for special events and attends every black belt test. He graciously signs autographs and poses for photos with our students. He is a great representative for Kearny Martial Arts