Congratulations to Unicorn star Michael Smith for winning the PDC World Championship 2023!

Michael Smith

JANUARY 3, 2023 is the date destiny was fulfilled for Michael Smith.

The Bully Boy produced a devastating performance to beat Michael van Gerwen 7-4 in the World Championship final at the Alexandra Palace.

It was the perfect night for Smith as he also claimed the World No.1 slot and hit a nine-darter in what is regarded as the greatest leg of darts in history.

Smith, 32, has made headlines all around the world with NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal among those taking inspiration from the World Champion, by showcasing his darting prowess on prime-time US sports show ‘Inside The NBA’.

Smith also appeared as a guest on TV talk-show ‘The MMA Hour’, hosted by renowned MMA journalist Ariel Helwani, to discuss his history-making exploits.

The St.Helens ace posed with the World Championship in his hotel bed after the glory night at the Ally Pally - just like Lionel Messi had done after winning the World Cup with Argentina three weeks earlier.

Smith added: “It just feels amazing what I’ve just achieved. The way Messi played against Saudi Arabia, they got beat 2-1. But they came back and did what he was destined for.

“I’m a United fan, Ronaldo has always been the greatest. But Messi showed his class and character.

“I showed what I’m capable of. I was destined to win this. I knew I was always going to win it.

“No matter how long, I would. If it wasn’t today, it would have been in 10 years or five years time. I was always going to win it.

“When I started playing in 2002/2003, I was just a kid. Three years later I was hitting 180s, I was doing 12-dart legs, I hit my first nine when I was 17.

“I believed then. I joined the PDC just shy of 18. I won my first ProTour when I was 19. I’d just broken both my hands on Christmas Eve.

“That’s when I started to believe. It doesn’t matter about all the heartache I’ve been dealt with. It doesn’t matter that I’ve lost finals.

“It was just showing my kids that you don’t quit. As long as you try 110 per cent and you don’t go half hearted and practice. If you give 110 per cent you will be a champion and a winner.”

Smith’s glory finally smashed the ‘bottler’ jibes after missing out in so many finals prior to landing the Grand Slam in Wolverhampton in November.

His CV now looks impressive having won the World Youth Championship, Shanghai Masters, World Championship and Bahrain Masters.

But he certainly doesn’t want to stop there, Smith has his heart set on more glory.

He added: “Obviously I want to be a multiple world champion. I don’t want to be a one-hit wonder.

“I’ve won the Grand Slam and World Championship, I’m a multiple major winner.

“James Wade has won 11 majors but not won this tournament. I’ve finally won the one I craved for. Now I’ve become a multiple winner.”

There has been much heartbreak for Bully Boy prior to the recent glory. He had been runner-up in the World Matchplay, UK Open, European Championship, Premier League and Masters over a four-year period.

He had, of course, lost the World Championship finals in 2019 and 2022.

A year earlier Smith was left in tears on stage when Scot Peter Wright broke his heart in the final. When Van Gerwen beat him in 2019, it was more than his heart he broke when he punched the toilet door.

He added: “It was the cubicle backstage where we go to the loo in the breaks. Luckily I broke my left hand, it caved in with my watch.

“But I’ve not done stuff like that for the last two years. I had to stop being a child and start growing up a bit.

“I’ve got two children myself and I can’t teach them if I do stuff like that.

“That’s been the biggest improvement for me over the last couple of years, the mental part of my game.

“I’ve worked my backside off. I’ve not been gifted anything. You’ve seen me lose eight major finals, I’ve had to work for it and finally tonight I got what I deserved.”

His darts career kicked off literally by accident. When he was 15, he fell off his bike and broke his hip. He was bored as he recuperated, so picked up some darts at St Anne’s Social Club in St Helens where his Dad is the manager. The rest, as they say, is history!

His first PDC title came in 2011 when he beat Chisnall to win a UK open qualifier. Two years later, Smith was in the world’s top 32.

The fantastic win that really made everyone sit up and take note came at the 2014 World Championship when Smith produced a stunning performance to beat Phil Taylor 4-3 at the Alexandra Palace in the 2nd Round. He was named PDC Young Player of the Year and then claimed a spot in the top 16 in the PDC Order of Merit.

Smith was honoured to be handed a wildcard to the Premier League in 2016 but it turned out to be a steep learning curve as he finished bottom of the table after nine weeks and was eliminated from the tournament. But of course, he learned that lesson by reaching the PL Final just two years later.

This is his time, his era, his opportunity to shine.

Smith has a tattoo on each hand - just one word - on the left ‘believe’ and on the right ‘achieve’ and it is a mantra that has worked so far.

Those words became prophetic. He believed and now he has achieved.

Nickname:  Bullyboy
Date of Birth:  18 September 1990
Place of Birth:  St Helens, Merseyside
Height: 6'2"
Home Town: St Helens, Merseyside
Family: Married to Dagmara, Michael Jnr and Caspar
Occupation Before Darts:  Studied Joinery
Hobbies: Watching football and playing with my boys, apart from that it's 24/7 darts
Sponsors: Unicorn, Rix Motors, Car Finance 247
Darts used: Unicorn 24g 90% Tungsten Michael Smith
Best Darts Moment So Far: Winning is always my best moments, but winning the Youth Worlds & my Euro wins
Practice Partner: Ian White, my Dad, some friends.  Or Jnr when I'm home
Favourite Double: 10
Walk On Music: Shut up and Dance With Me
Favourite Food: Chicken and rice
Favourite Drink: Lucozade (original)
Favourite Holiday Destination: Spain
Favourite Music: Boyce Avenue
Favourite Movie: Chronicles of Riddick
Favourite PDC Event: Worlds
Favourite TV Programme: The Walking Dead
PDC World Championship   Winner 2023
World Matchplay   Final   2019
World Grand Prix   Last 16   2015, 2019
UK Open   Semi Final   2019
Grand Slam Of Darts   Winner 2022
Premier League   Final   2018
European Championship   Semi Final   2019
Players Championship Finals   Last 16   2012, 2015
The Masters   Quarter Final   2016, 2019
Champions League of Darts   Semi Final   2019
PDC World Cup of Darts   Last 16   2019
World Series Of Darts Finals
  Final   2018
PDC Development Tour England   Winner   2012 (x5)
PDC European Darts Trophy   Winner   2014, 2015
PDC Gibraltar Darts Trophy   Winner   2017
PDC International Darts Open   Winner   2015
PDC Youth World Championship   Winner   2013
PDPA Players Championship Barnsley   Winner   2018
PDPA Players Championship Spain   Winner   2012
Shanghai Masters   Winner   2018
UK Open Qualifier   Winner   2011, 2015, 2018