Efe Ajagba still has some work to do.
The 6-foot-6 heavyweight contender suffered his first professional defeat at the hands of Frank Sanchez in October 2021, when the Cuban won a wide decision to put a sudden halt to Ajagba’s momentum.
Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) had surgery to repair both of his damaged elbows shortly afterward and then bounced back by stopping unheralded Jozsef Darmos in two rounds this past August, his most recent fight.(
Now comes what appears to be a stiffer test, a scheduled 10-rounder against unbeaten Stephan Shaw on Saturday in Verona, New York (ESPN, ESPN+).
Ajagba was scheduled to fight the more notable Oscar Rivas but Rivas pulled out with an eye injury two weeks ago, after which Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs) jumped at the opportunity to face the powerful Nigerian.
One of Ajagba’s goals: fight more often. He fought twice in 2021 and once last year.
“Since I came back from my surgery, I’ve tried to do everything to fight more,” Ajagba said at a news conference Thursday. “That’s why I only had one fight last year. I’ve been trying to get more fights.”
Ajagba’s had been preparing for a shorter opponent in Rivas, who is 6 feet, ¼ inch. And the Canada-based Colombian has faced elite opposition, which can’t be said for Shaw.
Shaw, 6-4. will be fighting in only his second scheduled 10-rounder on Saturday.
Ajagba said he’ll be the same fighter we’ve come to know since he first became a hot prospect a few years ago, pushing the action and seeking to hurt his opponent.
“I’ve made adjustments for Saturday night,” he said. “We’ll see how it goes. I’m ready for him.”
He went on: “I’m ready to put on a show. I’m going to put more pressure. I can’t wait. I’m so excited to be here.”
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