Efe Ajagba vs Zhan Kossobutskiy Preview August 26th, 2023
Hard-hitting heavyweight prospects Efe Ajagba of Nigeria and unbeaten Zhan Kossobutskiy of Kazakhstan meet for a 10-round battle in Tulsa, Oklahoma this Saturday, August 26th. The fight can be seen live in America on the ESPN platform while Canadian fans can catch it on TSN 3 and those in the UK and Ireland can see it on Sky Sports Arena. Ajagba last fought in January when he beat Stephan Shaw by a close 10-round unanimous decision. Kossobutskiy was last in action in November when he stopped Hussein Muhamed in the third round to retain his WBC International Heavyweight title.
Ajagba vs Kossobutskiy Betting Odds
- Efe Ajagba +120
- Zhan Kossobutskiy -150
The 29-year-old Ajagba is a bright prospect who now fights out of Stafford, Texas. He climbs through the ropes with a fine mark of 17-1 with 13 Ko’s. He’s obviously got good power in his fists as 76.5 per cent of his wins have come by stoppage. He also has plenty of size as he stands 6-feet-6-inches tall with an 85-inch reach. Ajagba enjoyed a successful 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 18 times but has boxed only 75 pro rounds due to his 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, Frank Sanchez beat him via a 10-round unanimous decision in 2021 for his only pro defeat and Stephan Shaw went 10 rounds in his last outing. 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 Ajagba stopped him 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 34-year-old Kossobutskiy is a southpaw who boasts a perfect record as he’s 19-0 with 18 Ko’s and has just 54 rounds worth of experience under his belt since making his pro debut in 2017. He also enjoyed a fine amateur career as he won the 2012 and 2013 Kazakh National Championships. His current knockout ratio clocks in at 94.7 per cent with the only man to go the distance with him being Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko over six rounds back in 2018.
Since turning pro, Kossobutskiy has also captured the vacant IBO Inter-Continental Heavyweight Title. He’s yet to face the elite of the heavyweight division as of yet but has wins over recognizable boxers such as Kamil Sokolowski, Onoriode Ehwarieme, Joey Dawejko, Alexis Garcia and Johann Duhaupas. Kossobutskiy stands 6-feet-3-inches tall but has an unlisted reach. Therefore he gives up three inches in height to Ajagba.
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 often doesn’t let his hands go enough as he shows no urgency. If Ajagba uses his size advantage and stays busy each round I think he can leave the ring with a win but he obviously needs to be wary of Kossobutskiy’s power. This is a very close matchup as it can easily go either way with a draw a possibility. I’m leaning toward Kossobutskiy though as Ajagba simply doesn’t let his hands go as he’s a bit too controlled in the ring.
This is a close call with Kossobutskiy having the edge in power and aggressiveness.
Play Kossobutskiy -150 @ BetOnline.ag
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