Stephan Shaw plans to take advantage of his big opportunity vs. Efe Ajagba

Sometimes another fighter’s bad luck is your good fortune.

Stephan Shaw was scheduled to face fellow heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello on a card headlined by a fight between hulking contender Efe Ajagba and Oscar Rivas on Saturday night in Verona, New York (ESPN, ESPN+).

However, Rivas had to pull out a few weeks before the event because of an eye injury. That resulted in the biggest opportunity in the career of Shaw, who has yet to face a big-name opponent in his decade-long career.

“I was just rolling through social media I looked at and saw that Rivas pulled out of fight,” Shaw said at a news conference Thursday. “My people hit me up and asked me, would I want to be a replacement? I said abso-f—ing-lutely.

“Excuse my French but that’s what I said. The fight was made. And here we are.”

Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs) followed his grandfather (trainer) and father (boxer) into the sport. He was one of the best amateur heavyweights in the early 2010s before turning pro in 2013.

The 6-foot-4 boxer-puncher from St. Louis has maintained a perfect record but you probably aren’t familiar with many of his opponents. And the fight on Saturday will be only his second scheduled 10-rounder, which is unusual for someone who has been around as long as Shaw.

That’s why he jumped at the chance to fight Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) in a main event on ESPN and ESPN+.

“I’ve got God on my side,” he said. “God makes all the situations that I have faced in my entire career and he has made it work. I have faced adversity that the average man wouldn’t be able to deal with. Coming from St. Louis, beating the odds and being on this stage to have my moment. I feel great. I’m excited.”

“I’m a third-generation fighter. I’m looking to become a world champion. Saturday night I’m going to make my mark.”


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Story originally appeared on Boxing Junkie