Welterweight prospect Justin Smith brushed off his controversial defeat to Gordon Roodman at EFC 77, insisting he is a champion in waiting.
DR Congo-born Smith (3-1) suffered the first loss of his career via disqualification for illegal elbows on Roodman (4-6-1), who missed the 185lbs middleweight limit by 3lbs before their main-card opener in Pretoria on March 16.
‘The Power’ took the fight at late notice in a heavier division following the withdrawal of Neil du Plessis (3-1) due to a staph infection.
“First of all, thanks to everybody that supported me; all the sponsors that had my back for this fight and everybody who texted me and motivated me for this fight,” Smith said after the bout at Time Square.
“I’ve got nothing to say about this fight, it’s done and dusted. I’m still the champ. I’m still hungry, so I believe I shall be a future champ and inspiration to young kids. I’ve got nothing to say about the fight, it’s done and dusted. I will look on to the future, thank you guys.”
When pressed again on his performance, the Cape Town-based athlete added: “Well, I’m happy I did a good performance. The crowd loved it, everybody saw the fight. Everybody saw what happened, so I’m not angry. Like I will keep saying, I do see myself as the champ.”
Smith will keep an eye on the four-man welterweight grand prix involving Luke Michael (4-3), Conrad Seabi (6-5), Themba Gorimbo (6-2) and Jose da Rocha (10-5), which will decide the next champion at 170lbs.
The EFC stripped Smith’s compatriot Gunther Kalunda (5-0) of the belt last week after losing patience with trying to line up his first title defence.