Efe Ajagba vs Stephan Shaw Preview January 14th, 2023
Heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba of Nigeria returns to the ring this Saturday, January 14th when he takes on unbeaten Stephan Shaw of Saint Louis, Missouri. The 10-rounder from Verona, New York can be seen live in America on ESPN and ESPN+ while Canadian fans can catch it on TSN2 and those in the UK can see it on Sky Sports Arena. Ajagba last fought in August when he stopped Joszef Darmos in the second round. Shaw was last in action in November when he beat Rydell Booker by an eight-round unanimous decision.
Ajagba vs Shaw Betting Odds
- Efe Ajagba +140
- Stephan Shaw -170
The 28-year-old Ajagba is a young, hard-hitting prospect who now fights out of Stafford, Texas. He climbs through the ropes with a fine mark of 16-1 with 13 Ko’s. He’s obviously got good power in his fists with a current knockout ratio of 76.5 per cent and has 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 17 times but has boxed only 65 pro rounds due to his exceptional power. He’s been the distance just four times as Ali Eren Demirezen took him 10 rounds in July, 2019, Jonathan Rice went 10 rounds in 2020 and Frank Sanchez beat him via a 10-round unanimous decision in 2021 for his only pro defeat. The loss to Sanchez was for the WBC Continental Americas, and WBO NABO Heavyweight Titles.
The only other man Ajagba failed to stop was Curtis Harper in 2018 when Harper was disqualified after walking out of the ring before the opening bell. Ajagba’s other opponents up to now have included Michael Wallisch, Iago Kiladze, Jonathan Rice, Brian Howard, Razvan Cojanu and Amir Mansour. While he hasn’t fought any elite-level opponents as of yet, at least each one of Ajagba’s foes entered the ring with a winning record. His chin hasn’t really been tested but it should be noted that Kiladze decked him in the third round in December, 2019 before he was stopped in the fifth and Sanchez scored a flash knockdown in the seventh round, so the jury’s still out on how well he can take a punch.
The 30-year-old Shaw boasts a perfect record as he’s 18-0 with 13 Ko’s and has 69 rounds worth of experience under his belt since making his pro debut in 2014. He also enjoyed a fine amateur career as he made it to the 2012 National Golden Gloves quarterfinals, the 2012 National Golden Gloves semifinals and the 2013 US National PAL Championship Finals. He also won two National Silver Gloves events as a youngster.
Shaw stands 6-feet-4-inches in height with an 81-inch reach which sees him give up two inches in height and four inches in reach to Ajagba. As far as power goes, Shaw is also above average as his current knockout ratio comes in at 68.4 per cent. His biggest wins over come over Jonathan Rice, Donovan Dennis, Gregory Corbin, Joey Dawjeko, Bernardo Marquez and Rydell Booker so it’s safe to say he’s taking a step up in class this weekend. He also fought to a six-round no-contest against Joel Caudle in 2018.
Initially, Shaw was supposed to fight undefeated Guido Vianello on this card while Ajagba was supposed to meet current Bridgerweight Champion Oscar Rivas, but Rivas pulled out with an eye injury and Shaw replaced him. Ajagba seems to have all the tools to become a legitimate heavyweight contender, but doesn’t use them often enough during a fight. He looked lethargic against Frank Sanchez and can’t afford a loss here to Shaw or he’ll just become yesterday’s news. If Ajagba uses his size advantage and stays busy each round I think he can leave the ring with a win. This is a close matchup though and Shaw realizes this is an excellent opportunity to showcase his talents. This fight can go either way with a draw a possibility as it’s up for grabs for the hungriest boxer. I give Ajagba the slight edge though.
Ajagba has the advantages in power and size but will he use them?
Play Ajagba +140 @ BetOnline.ag
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