Mr. McCall receives the Highest Martial Arts Fighter Award

June 25, 2018

American Freestyle Karate Club

4060B Hwy 16N

Denver, North Carolina 28037


Press Release

Mr. McCall Receives Highest Martial Arts Award

Mr. Danny R. McCall, owner of American Freestyle Karate Club of Denver, NC, received the PKA Joe Lewis Eternal Warrior Award in Atlanta, Georgia on June 14, at the Battle of Atlanta 50-year anniversary karate tournament, held at the Renaissance Waverly Hotel and Convention Center. The inductees were selected from this 50-year span of sport karate history by promoter Joe Corley, along with martial art icons Bill Wallace and Jeff Smith. The reunion and banquet, called "The Gathering of World Changers", included karate and kickboxing champions who helped change the history of the sport. "These are the world changers of our sport," says Joe Corley. "They were the fighters willing to go one more round." This is the highest Fighters Award in the Martial Arts & PKA.

Danny R. McCall, known as "Thunderbolt", fought and was also co-Captain on a five-man kickboxing team called "The Charlotte Warhawks", which defeated every team that challenged them until they retired undefeated in1978. Mr. McCall was also individually ranked in the world top 10 by NKA and was the North Carolina Champion. Mr. McCall traveled the SEKA & DOJO & NASAKA karate point circuit of karate for some 25 years and became a world rated fighter and winning some of the biggest Karate Tournaments in the US.

The award is named after Joe Lewis, a native of Knightdale, N.C., who passed away with a brain tumor on August 31, 2012. Joe was the best fighter in the history of the PKA sport of kickboxing voted by his peers such as karate champion Chuck Norris, star of TV series Walker, Texas Ranger. Lewis was the first to fight a kickboxing match in 1970 against Greg Baines, which earned him the title, PKA Father of Kickboxing. "He paved the way for all of us who fought," said Danny McCall. "He was the result of MMA today." Mr. McCall trained with Joe Lewis and shared fighting theories and Joe even sign Mr. McCall’s 4th dan Black Belt Certificate.

Mr. McCall, known as "Thunderbolt", received his awards from Bill "Superfoot" Wallace, PKA middle weight champion, and Jeff "The DC Bomber" Smith, PKA light-heavy weight champion. They are two of the best kickboxers in the history of martial arts, who begin their infamous careers airing on ABC’s Wide World of Entertainment in 1974. Joe Corley commended Mr. McCall on stage for his life-changing contribution to the sport. "This is the most coveted award in karate," said Mr. McCall. "I am honored to be included with all these champions. These are martial artists that I grew up reading about in the karate magazines. It secures my history."

Some of the recipients of the award are Joe Lewis, Chuck Norris, Bill Wallace, Jeff Smith, Jerome "Magic" Johnson and Danny R. McCall’s current instructor, Jerry Piddington, from Medford, Oregon.

Danny McCall was inducted into this elite group of karate and kickboxing world champions alongside his fellow Charlotte Warhawk team members, Ricky "Flash" Smith, Randy "Bullet" Smith from China Grove, NC, Jimmy Horsely and the late Keith Haflick from Richmond Va.

Some of the other veteran karate champions who received this award included Pat Burleson (first point karate champion in 1964 from Azle, Texas, known as "The Father of all Karate Champions"), Allen Steen (known as Father of karate in Texas), Pat Johnson (with film credits such as Karate Kid, Enter The Dragon, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Mortal Kombat, from Los Angeles, Ca.), Michael DePasquale Jr. (jiu-Jitsu champion and film maker from River Vale, NJ), Stephen Hayes (American ninja master and author from Dayton, Ohio), Ray Thompson, and his son Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson (UFC fighter known for his kicking and striking from Simpsonville, SC).

Mr. McCall currently operates the American Freestyle Karate Club in Denver, NC as he has for the last 40 years with his long time Black Belts Joe McClellan, Mike Keever, Ronnie Ward, Matt Watson, Stacy Speckman, Harvey Sharpe and 15 other awesome Black Belts. Contact info: or 704-579-7034