Kickboxing Legends: Dick Kimber, Bobby Kimber Honored at Prestigious, National Awards Ceremony

Dick Kimber is a three-time world kickboxing champion, a pioneer in the sport, and an example for Lynn youths that hard work and dedication to your craft can help you achieve goals that may seem impossible.

Kimber traveled to Atlantic City for the Action Martial Arts Magazine’s Hall of Honors to accept yet another accolade in recognition of his amazing career.

All smiles, Lynn’s Kimber brothers, Bobby Kimber and Dick Kimber, display their prestigious awards from the Action Martial Arts Magazine’s Mega Weekend event.

Dick received the prestigious Hall of Honors award in person at the Jan. 29 ceremony at the Tropicana Hotel. Dick’s older brother, retired Lynn Fire Lt. Bob Kimber, was the recipient of the Outstanding Dedication to Martial Arts lifetime achievement award, but he was unable to attend the ceremony.

In his acceptance speech, Dick credited his family and former mentors.

“I thanked everyone for supporting me, especially my family, Grand Master Al Goldberg, who organized the event, and I expressed to everybody that you can accomplish anything you want if you dedicate yourself to whatever you want,” said Kimber. “It’s important to never give up.”

Classical Graduate Began Kickboxing Career in 1977

Dick Kimber grew up in Curwin Circle in Lynn and he said there were a lot of obstacles that could’ve swayed him off his path.

“But I continued to stay strong and moved forward and I had a lot of role models that gave me that strength such as my older brother, Bob Kimber, my cousins Ralph Kimber Jr. and Jordan Berry, and my uncle, Raymond Armstead.”

 A 1973 Lynn Classical graduate, Kimber excelled as a tailback on a team captained by Dr. Dan Dill.

He had started training in the martial arts at the age of 10 and made the transition to competitive kickboxing in 1977. With his business partner, Lou Hopkins, Dick owned the operated East Coast Karate Academy in Lynn.

Dick had an extraordinary kickboxing career, winning a world title in the cruiserweight division in France, and two heavyweight division titles at the Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut.

Setting the Foundation

It was Dick Kimber who helped set the foundation for the phenomenon that the sport has become today. Kimber was competing in pay-per-view events long before the UFC emerged as a multi-billion-dollar operation.

“I was going to try professional boxing, but I wanted this [kickboxing] to work and I wanted to be one of the pioneers to break this thing through, and hopefully it was going to blow up,” said Kimber. “A lot of promoters and sponsors thought it might become popular back them, but I think we were held back because it was going to overtake boxing. So, a lot of times we were on ESPN at 1 or 2 o’clock in the morning, and who’s going to watch kickboxing then? We didn’t get the big sponsors back then.”

Kimber’s brothers also thrived in the mixed martial arts. His youngest brother, Jimmy, was a heavyweight karate champion and an outstanding coach. His brother, Tommy, was a three-time, middleweight world kickboxing champion who was inducted into the Lynn Classical Hall of Fame in 2021. His brother, Bobby, was a world-class kickboxing referee. One of Dick’s students, his brother-in-law, Ed Sierra, is a Master in the Martial Arts.

Dick Kimber retired from kickboxing in 2000. He is the father of six children and resides in Berlin, N.H.

Bobby Kimber Honored for Excellence, Dedication

Bobby Kimber, 70, received dual recognition at the Hall of Honors event for his career as a kick boxing referee and his lifelong dedication to the sport. While his brother, Dick, made the trek to New Jersey for the awards program, Bobby opted out.

“I didn’t attend because there was a big snowstorm, but my brother made it there,” said Bobby.

There was a mutual respect among the four sons of Richard Kimber and Joan Kimber from their earliest days in Lynn.

“Dick was still in school when I went into the Air Force and to Vietnam,” recalled Bobby. “It was just one of those things growing up in Curwin Circle, poor kids that did pretty well for themselves.”

While brothers Dick and Tommy were three-time world champions, Bobby and Jimmy had distinguished careers in firefighting.

“They lit ‘em up and we put ‘em out,” said Bobby.

Bobby retired as a Lynn fire lieutentant following a 32-year career. Jimmy just retired from the Peabody Fire Department.

Bobby was a kickboxing referee for 20 years. He never refereed one of Dick’s fights, but he was in the ring when one of Dick’s students, was fighting for the world lightweight title.

“Dick’s fighter was holding his opponent, and I told Dick I’m going to take a point away from him,” said Bobby. “The other corner was complaining, and I finally took a point away from Dick’s fighter. Dick got up on the ropes, and I threatened to take another point away. Dick yelled to me, ‘I’m going to kick your you know what’, and I looked at him, and I said to Dick, ‘Oh yeah, I’m telling Ma’.” “Dick got down off the ropes, and the crowd went wild. They knew I wasn’t taking anybody’s stuff. I had taken a point away my brother’s fighter.”

Those days in the kickboxing arena are in the past, but the honors and acclaim keep coming for the legendary Kimber brothers.

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