"Benny Urquidez "The Jet."


Benny Urquidez (Benny Urquidez); June 10, 1952, California, USA - kickboxing champion, professional, movie fight stunt director and movie actor. He earned the nickname "The Jet" (The Jet). At the beginning of his career he took part in non-contact karate fights, then became a pioneer in contact martial arts in the United States. From 1974 to 1993 he fought 53 fights and did not lose in any of them. Urquidez was named "Fighter of the Year" by Black Belt Magazine in 1978. Benny Urquidez was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. His father was a professional boxer and his mother was a wrestler. His ancestry is mixed: he has Spanish (Basque) roots, and he is also related to the Blackfeet, American Indians. Started boxing already at the age of 3, and from the age of 5 performed in the ring. At the age of 8, began studying martial arts (first teacher is said to be Bill Ruizaki). At the age of 14 he received a black belt, which in the 1960s was very unusual in itself. By 1964 he had gained a reputation as a very colorful fighter.

"The other kids' toys were cars," says Urquidez. - I had boxing gloves.

At the 1973 International Championships he defeated John Natividad in one of the greatest non-contact fights ever. In 1974 he performed in England and Belgium as a member of Ed Parker's American team. That same 1974 he gave up the non-contact style, took part in the world martial arts championship and won there. During 20 years of his professional career performed in different versions of kickboxing (NKL, WPKO, PKA, WKA, AJKBA, KATOGI, NJPW and MTN) and records 63 victories (though some sources give number 58, but also 57 wins). He held the world kickboxing title for 27 years (and, according to other sources, 24 years) and left the ring undefeated.

"I always didn't care if I won or lost, if I died or stayed alive. Every morning when I wake up, I say to myself, 'Today is not a bad day to die.' I'm not afraid of death, that's why I fought everywhere I could and by any rules. For example, if somebody told me I had no chance against a muay thai master, I immediately went to Thailand and won fights with any local fighters by their rules. I always liked and still like the fights. Most of the fighters go to the ring shouting: "I'm going to tear your arms off", but I always thought that if a person has to get so worked up before the fight, he shouldn't be in the ring. Fear has no place in my life. If I'm not afraid to die, how can I be afraid of my opponent?"

Benny unofficially retired from the sport, having won six championship titles. Back in the early 80's the holder of four top kickboxing titles, Benny Urquidez, nicknamed Jet, challenged the famous Ray Leonard, nicknamed Sugar. Urquidez, who became world champion for the first time back in 1974, during his career Benny Urquidez won every fight and, as Black Belt magazine wrote about him, "he combines the grace of a cat with the power of a dragon slayer." Reactive became famous for turning American-born kickboxing into an international sport, fighting under the auspices of all existing organizations under all existing rules and consistently winning. He also became the first American to defeat Asian masters on their soil - in Japan, Thailand and other Asian countries he easily defeated representatives of all styles, schools and styles, no matter what rules they worked by. And Urquidez, who is 168 cm tall and weighs 72 kg, fought many times against rivals, who were much bigger in height and weight.

Officially it is considered, that Benny Urquidez had 63 (or 58) fights (according to unofficial data, he had at least 200 fights and 0 defeats). Though some are skeptical of such an impeccable record. There are at least 3 "dark spots" in the history of Urquidez's wins in the ring. The first is a fight in Los Angeles in March 1977 against Muay Thai fighter Narongnoy Kiatbandit. Urquidez ended up on the floor in the 9th round and the fight was inexplicably put down to "no result". The second is the fight in Tokyo on August 2, 1978. The video of the fight shows that Urquidez's opponent, Thai fighter Sittibunlert, wins by decision of the judges. In later interviews, Urquidez said, that he was sued, and the match was held with violations (5 rounds were announced, but 6 were held; the gloves were too big; the fight was considered a demonstration). Some sources put forward the version that the fight ended after Urquidez's seconds threw a white towel into the ring. The third black spot of Urquidez's career was the fight with Billy Jackson, which took place in Florida, USA, in summer 1980. The fight ended without a result being announced. Urquidez later claimed that the rules of the fight were broken (7 rounds instead of 6 planned + bad refereeing and fouls). All three controversial fights were later classified as "no result" fights.

Urquidez has appeared in two dozen films, mostly about martial arts. He first appeared on screen in the movie "The Power of Five" (Force: Five) (1981) with Joe Lewis and Richard Norton. He later played "bad guys" in films with Jackie Chan: Diner on Wheels (1984) and Dragons Forever (1988) Benny enjoyed working with Sammo Hung, Yuen Biao and Jackie Chan, but Dragons Forever was the last film where they were seen together. Urquidez can also be seen in a cameo role in the film with Jean-Claude Van Damme, Street Fighter (1994). His character was also featured in a computer game based on the movie The Crow. Urquidez starred in "Murder at Grosse Pointe" (1997) as a hitman sent to kill John Cusack's character. He recently played the role of one of the ghosts in 1408 (2007), also starring Cusack. In real life, Urquidez is John Cusack's kickboxing coach.

"When the famous final fight between my character and Jackie Chan's character in 'Diner on Wheels' was filmed, Jackie said to me, 'That scene has to be so powerful, so spectacular, so that the audience in the audience falls out of their seats.' He and I got so far apart that we didn't notice that we were punching each other for real. Honestly, we were so far apart that we didn't pay attention to anything. Jacky is a great kungfu master, very pleasant and easy to work with, but even he understands that if we had fought for real, this fight would have ended rather quickly and rather sadly for one of us (well, certainly not for me).