Efe Ajagba vs Jonathan Rice Preview Sept. 19th
Unbeaten heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba of Nigeria will be taking on Jonathan Rice of Columbia, South Carolina in a 10-round bout this Saturday, September 19th. The fight from the Bubble at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas can be seen live in America on ESPN+. Ajagba last fought in March when he stopped Razvan Cojanu in the ninth round. Rice last saw action in March as well when he was stopped in the 10th and final round by Demsey McKean for the vacant IBF Inter-Continental, and vacant WBO Asia Pacific Heavyweight Titles.
Ajagba vs Rice Betting Odds
- Jonathan Rice +2737
- Efe Ajagba -10937
The 26-year-old Ajagba is a young, hard-hitting prospect who now fights out of Stafford, Texas. He climbs through the ropes with a perfect record of 13-0 with 11 big Kos. He’s obviously got good power in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 84.6 per cent. He’s also got plenty of size as he stands 6-feet-6-inches tall with an 85-inch reach. Ajagba enjoyed a fine amateur career and made it to the quarterfinal of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in the super heavyweight division.
He also won a bronze medal at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow Scotland in 2014. Ajagba turned pro in 2017 a year after the Olympics and has been pretty busy ever since. He’s fought 12 times but has boxed only 40 pro rounds due to his exceptional power. He’s been the distance just once as Ali Eren Demirezen took him 10 rounds last July. The only other man he failed to stop was Curtis Harper in August of 2018 and that’s because Harper was disqualified after walking out of the ring before the opening bell rang.
Ajagba’s only recognizable opponents up to now have been Cojanu and Amir Mansour, whose corner stopped the fight after the second round in March, 2019. But while he hasn’t fought any top rate opponents as of yet, at least each one of his foes entered the ring with a winning record. Ajagba’s chin hasn’t really been tested but it should be noted Iago Kiladze decked him in the third round last December before being stopped in the fifth, so the jury’s still out on how well he can take a punch.
The 33-year-old Rice is also a big guy at 6-feet-5-inches tall but has an unlisted reach. He enters the ring with a mark of 13-5-1 with 9 Kos and has been stopped himself on two occasions. He made his pro boxing debut in 2014 at the age of 27 when he drew Justin Davenport over four rounds. His losses came at the hands of Con Sheehan by four-round unanimous decision in 2016, Stephen Shaw by six-round unanimous decision in 2016, Tony Yoka by six-round unanimous decision in 2017, by seventh-round stoppage to Arslanbek Makhmudov in 2019 and the stoppage to McKean the last time out.
Rice has plenty of power in his fists even though his current knockout ratio reads just 47.4 per cent as nine of his 13 wins have been by knockout. However, he lacks experience against legitimate contenders. His loss to Makhmudov was for the vacant WBC Continental Americas Heavyweight Title and he managed to stop Christian Mariscal in the first round in August, 2019 for the vacant WBC Latino Heavyweight Championship.
Rice has been brought in as an opponent who isn’t expected to win but he does have the power to cause some damage if he connects. However, his chin isn’t the greatest. This could be a slugfest while it lasts and while Rice has a puncher’s chance I’m expecting Ajagba to emerge with another victory, likely by stoppage.
A bit of a mismatch but could be a slugfest.
Play Ajagba -10937 @ BetOnline.ag
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