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Ajagba gets new opponent for Jan 14 bout


Nigerian heavyweight Efe Ajagba has a new opponent for his headliner clash on January 14 after his previously scheduled opponent Oscar Rivas was forced to withdraw last week due to an eye injury.

Ajagba will now face unbeaten Stephan Shaw, Top Rank announced on Tuesday. The 10-round bout will take place at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

Heavyweight prospect Guido Vianello, who was scheduled to fight Shaw in the co-feature, will now face Jonnie Rice in a 10-round bout with both fights to air live on ESPN and ESPN Deportes.

Ajagba (16-1, 13 KO), who is from Ughelli, Delta State and currently resides in Stafford, Texas, suffered his first defeat as a pro at the hands of Frank Sanchez October 9, 2021 in a clash of unbeaten fighters. Ajagba returned to the ring in superior fashion on August 27, 2022, dropping Jozsef Darmos twice en route to a second round knockout victory.

The 28-year-old will have a height and significant reach advantage over Shaw, who recently notched another knockout win to his ledger.

Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs) last fought November 22, 2022, defeating Rydell Booker by decision over eight one-sided rounds. In his previous fight on July 15, 2022, Shaw dropped Bernardo Marquez three times, earning a first-round knockout victory.

“Stephen Shaw stepped up and has a tough task against one of the division’s biggest punchers in Efe Ajagba,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum. “We’re pleased that Guido will remain on the card against a formidable opponent in Jonnie Rice. This will be a fantastic heavyweight doubleheader at Turning Stone.”

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