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Name: Michael Smith
Nickname: Bully Boy
Date of birth: 18 September 1990
Home town: St Helens
Walk on music: Shut Up and Dance - Walk the Moon
World Titles: 1
Major Titles: 2
PDC Ranking Titles: 20
Nine-dart finishes: 8 (3 on TV)
Highest TV average: 113.62 (Grand Slam of Darts 2019)
Michael Smith has become a regular at dart’s top table after playing his trade on the PDC for the best part of a decade. Bully Boy is still in search of his first major title but has come agonisingly close on several occasions.
Michael Smith, from St. Helens, was an avid darts player through his teenage years and as a young player he began to make his mark on the PDC in the 2010s.
He played on the PDC’s Youth Tour in 2011 as well as competing in some Pro Tour events and announced himself as one of the top upcoming players by winning his first Pro Tour event the UK Open Qualifier 2.
As a touring professional Smith made his World Championship debut at Alexandra Palace in 2012 and was beaten in the opening round by Co Stompé.
After winning his first Players Championship title in the early stages of 2012 he qualified to make his debut in both the World Matchplay and the World Grand Prix but he was beaten in the first round on both occasions.
In 2013 Smith was crowned PDC Youth champion after beating Ricky Evans in the final. He also reached the final of another UK Open Qualifier, but this time lost to Michael van Gerwen.
Bully Boy appeared in the Grand Slam of Darts for the first time thanks to his Youth title but was eliminated in the group stage.
Prior to the 2014 World Championship Smith climbed his way inside the top 32 on the Order of Merit and this saw him qualify automatically for the sport’s biggest event for the first time.
After progressing through the opening round Smith pulled off one of the biggest results of the tournament as he defeated defending champion Phil Taylor in the second round. His run was unable to continue when he was narrowly defeated by Peter Wright in the next round.
2014 went on to be a successful year for the Englishman as he picked up the PDC’s Young Player of the Year award and began to regularly reach the latter stages of events.
Another title was almost in the hands of Smith at the European Darts Grand Prix but a missed dart to win the match saw him slip to defeat against Mervyn King. The missed opportunity did not derail his form and he went on to beat Van Gerwen in the final of the European Darts Trophy.
At the 2015 International Darts Open Smith beat fellow up-and-coming star Benito van de Pas to take his second European Tour title and he went on to beat Van Gerwen once again to defend his European Darts Trophy.
Smith reached his first major semi-final at later that year where he was beaten by Van Gerwen in the last four of the Grand Slam of Darts.
2016 proved to be another big year in Smith’s career as he reached the quarter-finals of the World Championships for the first time before being eliminated by Raymond van Barneveld despite having a shot at a double to progress.
His performances merited a wildcard pick from the PDC for that year’s Premier League but suffered several defeats before finishing bottom of the table and being eliminated before the final section.
In May 2017 Smith managed to end a title drought that had lasted almost two years as he got the better of Mensur Suljovic to win the Gibraltar Darts Trophy.
At the 2018 World Championship Smith was again punished for missing match darts, a scenario that seemed to happen all too often. He missed two match darts to beat Rob Cross in the second round, but his fellow Englishman took advantage and went onto claim the title.
Smith was again given an entry into the Premier League and this time showed his true quality by finishing second in the league phase and comfortably sealing his spot in the play-offs. He went on to reach the final but Van Gerwen denied him the title.
A run to the final of the 2019 World Championship followed for Smith having entered the tournament as the 10th seed. Unsurprisingly Van Gerwen was the man waiting to meet Smith and he ensured that the Englishman wouldn’t be taking the title as he defeated him 7-3.
Most recently for Smith, he struggled to get over the line once again as he missed three match darts to take the 2020 Masters against Peter Wright. The reigning world champion took advantage as Smith fell at the final hurdle again.
In February 2020, Smith hit his first televised nine-darter in a 7-5 victory over Daryl Gurney. He reached the final at the Masters and World Cup of Darts (with Rob Cross) and a semi-final at the World Matchplay. Bullyboy suffered a second successive second round exit at the 2021 PDC World Championship after losing to Jason Lowe.
2022 saw his major breakthrough finally as at the ninth attempt after failing prior at the UK Open and the European Championship, he finally sealed the Grand Slam of Darts defeating Nathan Aspinall 16-5 in the final.
This opened the floodgates as he went on to become World Champion in January 2023 defeating Michael van Gerwen 7-4 becoming World Number One. Adding to his title haul, he is currently on a winning streak as of time of writing after winning the Bahrain Darts Masters.
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