Inducted on November 13, 1997

Boxers were always the heroes in the Smoger household. At a very young age, Steve was allowed to stay up late with his Dad to watch the Gillette Friday Night Fights on television. Steve’s fondest memory as a youngster was the night his Dad and his Uncle Denny took him to see Jersey Joe Walcott defend his Heavyweight Title against Rocky Marciano in Philadelphia. It was an unbelievable experience. Call it dramatic justice, because it was none other than the Great Jersey Joe Walcott who, as the Commissioner of the New Jersey State Athletic Commission, issued Steve his Referee’s license thirty years later.

Steve began his professional boxing career as a State Inspector for the New Jersey State Athletic Commission. While attending to those duties, he remained an active amateur referee affiliated with the Atlantic City Police Athletic League. Steve began his professional career as a referee on the famous “Tuesday Night at the Trop” boxing cards in Atlantic City. In 1993, Steve was recognized as “Referee of the Year” by Ring Sports Magazine and Boxing Scene Magazine. In 1994, Steve was named “Referee of the Year” by Flash Magazine. Also, in 1995, Steve

placed runner up to Mills Lane for “Best Referee in the World” in a poll conducted by Boxing Illustrated.

Today, Steve is considered on e of the top referees in the world of professional boxing. He is licensed by all major world boxing sanctioning bodies as a various State and Tribal boxing commissions. Steve recently refereed his 70th World Title Bout.

When not in the ring, Steve serves as a Municipal Court Judge in four municipalities in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Steve also serves as a Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserves Legal Services Agency in Washington, D.C.

Steve Smoger is a well known American boxing referee. His active participation in boxing began in the early 1970s when he served as a timekeeper, judge, and referee for the Police Athletic League. “One afternoon,” Smoger recalls, “I was at the PAL center, and Jersey Joe Walcott called. He was chairman of the New Jersey State Boxing Commission, which was what they called it back then. There were fights scheduled for that night and Walcott said, ‘We’re shorthanded. Is there anyone at PAL who can help out as an inspector?'” Smoger volunteered and, for the next five years, worked as an inspector. In 1983, he was granted a provisional referee license. [2]

Smoger works primarily on the East Coast, and is often featured as the referee in world title or major fights taking place at East Coast venues. One of the more well-traveled of his profession, he has also refereed bouts in Panama, Bermuda, Russia, Dubai, the Ukraine, Australia, Argentina, Uruguay, Germany, Thailand, Israel, the Virgin Islands, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Sweden, the Cayman Islands, Japan, Saint Lucia, Italy, China, Denmark, South Africa, the United Kingdom, Poland, France, Spain, South Korea, and Switzerland.

In 1995, he placed second to Mills Lane in a poll conducted by Boxing Illustrated to designate the world’s “best referee.” In 2010, he was recognized by the WBA as Referee of the Year. When Smoger is not refereeing fights, he serves as a Municipal Court Judge in Atlantic City, as well as a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force Reserves.

In boxing circles, Smoger is known as being one of the most lenient referees in the sport. This liberal attitude often results in exciting fights as the action is only broken up when it is absolutely necessary.

Aside from his vast experience as a referee, Smoger is also known for being the victim in the “chair incident” which took place during the first Oleg Maskaev vs. Hasim Rahman fight. Smoger, the backup referee at the fight, was sitting just outside of the ring when Rahman was knocked out of it by Maskaev. Shortly after Rahman hit the ringside floor, Smoger was struck in the head by a chair which had been thrown from the crowd by a fan who was soon arrested.

Steve Smoger Gallery

Notable Refereed Fights







  • John Ruiz vs. James Toney for the WBA and IBA Heavyweight Titles – Toney defeated Ruiz by unanimous decision, but the result was changed to a no contest when Toney tested positive for a banned substance.











Judging Record: click
Refereeing Record: click