Nigeria’s rising world heavyweight boxing prospect, EFE AJAGBA and his trainer, Ronnie Shields speak in this interview with boxing analyst for Completesports.com, Nnamdi ‘Hollywood’ Moweta, following the young pugilist’s recent second-round knockout victory over Amir Mansour in California. The Ughelli-born boxer now with a record 9-0 (8 knockouts) continues to brighten his chances of having a shot at the world title…
Congratulations Ajagba on a good fight which you won.
EFE AJAGBA: Thank you very much and I do appreciate it.
How do you feel going for your first eight-rounder and stopping a veteran like Amir Mansour?
I feel good. I have said it before the fight that I was going to stop Amir Mansour by using my jabs. He doesn’t use jabs but relies on his powerful right hand and hooks during fights but I did not give him the chance to land them. I didn’t give him the chance to use his pecks or time to think. I did not let him get into his rhythm but I stuck to my jabs and landing some heavy shots. That strategy worked perfectly and that was why I was able to win the fight.
Was it really very difficult for you fighting as a southpaw?
No, it wasn’t difficult for me to fight as a southpaw because I trained a lot and my trainer taught me how to fight the southpaw style. Also, this is not my first time, fighting southpaw because I did it at the Olympics while representing my country, Nigeria. So it was kind of easy, you know. Mansour was experienced but fighting at the Olympics makes me more experienced than him and that counts in boxing.
You have won nine fights and lost none and scoring all these knock-outs. What lessons will you say you’ve learnt from this fight?
I would say the lesson I learnt was believing in myself and developing the ability to adapt to situations during any fight. Not many people thought I would be able to knock Mansour out but I did it. With this victory, I am looking forward to even bigger fights. I want the big fights because that’s how I can show the world that I’m ready and I have what it takes to excel as a world heavyweight champion.
When do we expect to see Ajagba in the ring again?
Hopefully, I’m going to fight in May. The fight could come up in Las Vegas or in New York.
You must be very happy with your progress so far. In nine wins, nobody has gone the distance with you. What makes you feel strong as a heavyweight?
I’ve got natural power. I came from Nigeria and from a very poor home. Where I come from, God gave us natural power because it’s not everybody that is blessed with natural power. So, I feel impressive stopping Mansour without going the distance and that makes me feel very happy. This is a kind of stepping stone for me to move forward and I’m really looking forward to the next fight and also looking forward to being the heavyweight champion of the world in no time.
Ronnie Shields On Ajagba
Coach (Ronnie Shields), what will you say Ajagba learned from the fight against Mansour?
He has learned that he can compete with the best fighters in the world. This was a step-up fight for him but he knows he’s better than that right now. Amir Monsour has not met his match a long time but Efe Ajagba is just too big and too strong for him. And if Efe realized that going into this fight, people were saying that Amir was going to beat him – but he has shown everybody what type of a fighter he is.
When is he going to go into the ring again?
Well, hopefully soon. Let’s say within a month or two at the least.
You must be happy with Ajagba’s progress.
Oh, I’m very happy with his progress, you know. He has worked very hard and he doesn’t take anybody lightly. He takes his time, places his punches well and as you’ve seen in the fight when he hits you, you’re definitely going to go down. (laughs).
Congratulations coach and hoping to see you in Las Vegas for the next one.
(Laughs) Thank you very much.