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Sarasota Film Festival film features local champion | News

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Sarasota Film Festival film features local champion

Sarasota, Florida -- The Sarasota Film Festival received 2,000 films, of which 252 made the cut. One film from a local production company is about a local champion.

When China Smith stepped out of the ring six years ago, the boxer with 34 victories, 27 knockouts, 4 losses and a two-time Heavyweight Champion of the World knew then he'd be back.

"I wasn't done," says China "The Dragon" Smith. "I didn't want to look back 10, 15, 20 years from now and say what if, could of, should of."

The 35-year-old husband and father's comeback is in full swing. China is seeking a third world championship and he's preparing for a possible title fight in Tampa this June.

China's mantra: Respect all, Fear none.

"I try to respect everybody, fear nothing but God," he says.

The Sarasota native's life and return to the ring has turned into a documentary at the Sarasota Film Festival. The short film is narrated by circus star Nik Wallenda. Both screenings are sold out.

"When I saw it on the big screen, I got emotional," says China.

The documentary started as a training video. Director Ray Rodriguez quickly realized China's story is one that inspires and must be told.

"During those six years he was off, he was the director here at PAL (Police Athletic League) teaching kids to stay off drugs, listen to their parents, stay in school," says Ray Rodriguez, director of China "The Dragon" Smith: Second Chance.

"He's the people's champ -- they adore him," says Ray.

When life knocks him down, China looks at his problems as challenges.

"You keep working hard doing the right things you will eventually get there."

Click here for SFF lineup.