Recently crowned EFC welterweight champion Gunther Kalunda has been stripped of the title.
The EFC released a statement, part of which reads: ‘The reasons for this are due to him refusing to defend his title without reasonable explanation, as well as instances of unprofessional behaviour.’
A welterweight grand prix between contenders Luke Michael (4-3), Conrad Seabi (6-5), Themba Gorimbo (6-2) and Jose da Rocha (10-5) will decide the next 170lbs champ.
DR Congo’s Kalunda (5-0) won the interim belt when he edged Brazilian Da Rocha at EFC 73 via split-decision.
He was meant to then battle ex-champ-champ Dricus du Plessis (12-2) for undisputed honours, but ‘Stillknocks’ surrendered the welterweight strap last month to focus on his middleweight reign.
Kalunda has since turned down multiple fight offers.
“We have been struggling to put a fight together for Gunther for months now,” explained EFC VP of talent Graeme Cartmell.
“We offered him the winners of the next two biggest welterweight fights, and at more than three times what he earned in his title fight. While he accepted the opponents, he unfortunately didn’t accept the increase in purse.”
Cartmell added: “Unfortunately, he has left us with no choice but to take his title away. In addition to not fulfilling his contractual obligations, he was unnecessarily blocking others from getting their chance at earning championship purses.”
Asked for comment, Kalunda said: “I just wanna get paid what I feel I deserve as the undefeated champ.”
Kalunda has been seen at EFC events tarnishing his R50 000-valued championship belt, according to the promotion.
On hearing the news, Du Plessis, who also fights in Polish organisation KSW, said: “Gunther is a great fighter, but I believe he doesn’t have the fight CV to be refusing any fights. He hasn’t fought any massive names and should be fighting as often as possible. If he’s not injured and doesn’t have any other fights to focus on, he is just stalling for no reason.”
Welterweight grand prix match-ups:
Luke Michael vs Conrad Seabi – EFC 78 – GrandWest, CPT – Sat 13 Apr
Themba Gorimbo vs Jose Da Rocha – EFC 79 – Carnival City, JHB – Sat 04
The tournament finals date and venue is yet to be announced.