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Smith hungry to get to grips with next test

Joshua Smith is a man who enjoys the heat of the battle more than the glory that comes with victory.

Smith was crowned the Bermuda Combat Club Submission Grappling Middleweight Champion after beating Tekla Smith in the final at Fairmont Southampton on Saturday night.

The 31-year-old defeated Zavier Rawlins in his opening bout, while Smith got the better of Donnie Matthew in front of a sizeable crowd on the “Undefeated” undercard.

All four fighters were competing under the Brazilian Top Team umbrella, which has branches all over the world.

“I was only really focused on what was going on inside of the ring,” Smith said. “The outside of the ring was barely in my peripheral vision. I'm not really in this for the glory or anything like that. I just love training.”

Submission grappling, a relatively new sport to Bermuda, is a form of martial arts, including judo, wrestling, Brazilian jujitsu, sambo. The aim is to obtain victory through the use of submission holds.

Smith took up the sport three months ago. He needed a less time-consuming alternative to spearfishing, his previous passion, as he is now a father of two.

“I've got two kids now and had start doing something where I would be gone for an hour or two as opposed to sunrise to sundown,” said Smith, who claimed the title vacated by Chad Nelmes, who is studying overseas.

“I was looking for something to keep me on land and also give me a bit of an adrenalin rush.”

Smith and the rest of the local fighters are taught by Brazilian jujitsu expert Marcos Tulio, who refereed the three bouts on Saturday.

The Bermudian said Tulio's passion for jujitsu was infectious and would now like to test himself against an overseas opponent.

“I went to investigate what was going on [at the BCC] and we were rolling and sparring on the first day,” Smith said.

“That was one of the main things that drew me to it. I was able to get into the action immediately rather than learning just a bunch of theory.

Smith added: “We're trying to get some fights so we're not just fighting within the club.

“It would be great to fight someone I don't know, so I'm not aware of their strengths and weaknesses.”

Mark Prior, the owner of the Bermuda Combat Club, said the event was a great experience for the foursome and that their high-octane bouts proved a hit with the crowd.

“It was an historic night for combat sports and we were honoured to not only put on Bermuda's first submission grappling tournament, but open the biggest fight night of the year alongside the country's best fighters — which was also Bermuda's first pay-per-view card shown worldwide,” said Prior, who opened the club on Reid Street in August.

“We are proud to have introduced Brazilian jujitsu/submission grappling and MMA to Bermuda, and have the opportunity and demand from the public to showcase it.

“Our competitors came out to a cheering sold-out crowd who have never seen the kind of action that submission grappling brings.

“It truly was an experience and we are grateful to be so well received by the public.”

Man on top: Joshua Smith en route to victory over Zavier Rawlins during their submission grappling bout on Saturday night (Photograph by Blaire Simmons)

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Published November 15, 2017 at 8:00 am (Updated November 15, 2017 at 12:08 am)

Smith hungry to get to grips with next test

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