Advertisement
Advertisement
Boxingscene.com

Ajisafe Aims To Show His Class In Front of Home Fans

By John MacDonald

Reigning British light heavyweight champion, Bob Ajisafe 12-2 (3) is looking for a triumphant homecoming when he faces Leon Senior 10-2-1 (0) in  the semi-finals of the Maxinutrition Knockout tournament in Leeds on Saturday.

Ajisafe’s journey to this point has seen him fight all across England; from Darlington to London and most recently in Reading where he claimed the vacant Lonsdale belt against Dean Francis.

Now the 29 year old has the opportunity to fight in his hometown for the first time as a professional.

“It’s the first time I’ve fought in Leeds since the amateur days where I fought close-by in the ABAs. I’m on a big card like this, headlining my own show which feels good. I couldn’t ask for more really,” Ajisafe told BoxingScene.

“I’ve been looking forward to it. I knew if I could get through my first fight [in the tournament, UD12 against Dean Francis] I’d get this fight - and it’s obviously come to fruition. I knew in the back of my mind it was going to happen so that urged me on as well. Now I’m just really pleased it’s here and I’m looking to showcase my skills in front of my fans.”

Whereas some fighters would feel the weight of expectation to put on a good performance in front of their local support, Ajisafe is more relaxed entering this contest than the previous one. A combination of factors such as; fighting in unfamiliar surroundings and the British title on the line played on his mind in the lead-up to his fight with Francis.

“There’s not as much added pressure on me as there was last time. Last time there was a lot more pressure on me because I knew the British title was on the line, I had to go and perform in Reading which is somewhere that isn’t familiar to me.

“Now it’s in Leeds, it’s my hometown, I know I have to look good, put a good performance on because I can’t afford to not look good now as British champion.”

The tournament, which has been shown live on Channel 5 has breathed new life in to a division that has stagnated somewhat in the past few years. Ajisafe’s bout with the veteran, Dean Francis was the perfect curtain raiser for the contest as both men fought toe-to-toe for large periods of the fight, knowing the prize at stake. For many it showed a different side to Ajisafe who, as a product of the famous Ingle Gym, has a reputation as an awkward, southpaw, counter puncher.

 “I had to dig in sometimes in that fight. Not to take anything away from Dean Francis, he was a top operator and I didn’t expect him to come in as sharp and as savvy as he was but that’s obviously the experience he’s had being a former British, European and Commonwealth champion and being a big puncher as well. I had to use everything, all my ability. I had to fight him at points, I had to take a good shot - which I can - and obviously fight him in the trenches as well as box him to keep winning the rounds.”

Saturday’s opponent, current Southern Area champion, Leon Senior progressed to this stage after his quarter-final with Tony Hill was ruled a non-contest after an accidental clash of heads in the second round left Hill in no state to continue. The British Boxing Board of Control rejected Senior as a voluntary challenger and as a result Ajisafe’s title will not be at stake.

Having defeated a man who had won everything, bar a world title, in his previous fight, Ajisafe is confident that Senior is simply not at his level, yet remains focussed on the task at hand.

“I’m not overlooking that guy but I think it’s an easier fight. Leon Senior, to be honest with you, I’d never heard of the guy before this competition. I’d never ever heard of him and by looking at him I don’t think he’s ever fought anyone in my class or anywhere near my class. I don’t recognise anyone he’s fought and I think he got knocked out before coming in to the competition by another novice [Arfan Irqbal 7-0 (3)], who I hadn’t heard of either.”

“He’s definitely not the same calibre of fighter as Dean Francis who had 40-odd fights and who was former British, European, Commonwealth champion. So compared to him I can’t seeing Senior being in that class. I know he’s not going to be in my class, me being the British champion as well. He’ll come and have a go because that’s all he can do, this is his opportunity so he’s going for broke. It’s the opportunity of a lifetime for him but I’ve got to show my class and the reason why I’m champion.”

Tags: British Boxing image  
User Comments and Feedback (Register For Free To Comment) Post a Comment - View More User Comments (0)
Top Headlines Rob Brant's Ring Return Moves on With Late Replacement Keith Thurman to Danny Garcia: You’re Getting Knocked Out Badou Jack Vacates WBC Title, Officially Moves Up To 175-Pounds Video: Angel Garcia Talks Keith Thurman Unification Video: Keith Thurman Breaks Down Danny Garcia, Angel Garcia Photos: Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman - Tense Face To Face in NY Video: Danny Garcia, Angel Garcia Sound Off on Keith Thurman Video: SHO's Espinoza Discusses Future Fights on Network, More DeGale: Mayweather Talks Rubbish, Has Big Ego, All About Him Eddie Hearn Discusses The Status of Kell Brook vs. Amir Khan Photos: Michael Conlan - New York City Presser For Pro Debut Jordan Thompson Inks Frank Warren Deal Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis Finalized For April 1 Showdown Groves' Trainer Talks DeGale vs. Jack, Status of Chudinov Fight CBS to Air Garcia-Thurman; Announcement at Press Conference Patrick Nielsen, Dina Thorslund Ready For Nordic Fight Night Bouts Michael Conlan vs. Tim Ibarra Ticket Information Billy Joe Saunders Links Up With Adam Booth After Tibbs Split Manny Pacquiao's Career Could Extend Beyond 2017, Says Arum Jarrell Miller: Deontay Wilder is a Fraud; Highly Doubt He Fights Me Broner: Fighting Spence Would Be "Foolish" for Crawford's Career Daily Bread Mailbag: Golovkin-Jacobs, Canelo-Chavez, More Lawrence Okolie Inks Promotional Pact With Eddie Hearn Jamie Cox: I Would Beat Eubank Jr. and Quinlan in The Same Night! Farrell Hungry To Produce Champions, Excited for McCrory Link Up Chisora To Whyte: Forget Wilder, You Need To Face Me Again J. Mayweather No Longer Convinced That Golovkin Beats Canelo Veteran Judge: Horn Has No Real Talent, Pacquiao By KO in 3 To 4 Marco Huck vs. Mairis Briedis, WBC Title, in Play For April 1 Adam Lopez: I Have Everything it Takes To Get My Shot Marquez: Chavez Jr. Must First Defeat The Weight, Then Canelo Arum Provides Update on Manny Pacquiao vs. Jeff Horn Event Photos: Michael Conlan Hits New York City For MSG Presser Golovkin vs. Jacobs: Ryan Martin Eyed For The Undercard Nate Diaz Expected To Receive Boxing License, Heading To TMT? Loeffler: Insurance is a Non-Issue For Golovkin vs. Jacobs Miller on Luis Ortiz: I'll Beat Brakes Off That Old Motherf***er! Photos: Carl Frampton Putting in Work For Leo Santa Cruz Rematch Gervonta Davis: Pedraza Needs to Stop Making Excuses for Loss Espinoza Will Discuss Garcia-Thurman Winner With Mayweather
Advertisement
Latest Active Forum Threads
Advertisement
Advertisement