By Keith Idec
Efe Ajagba will take what could be considered a slight step up in competition Saturday night in Las Vegas.
The hard-hitting Nigerian heavyweight is set to square off against Germany’s Michael Wallisch in a 10-rounder Showtime will broadcast from The Chelsea inside The Cosmopolitan. The 33-year-old Wallisch was unbeaten before Germany’s Christian Hammer knocked him out in the fifth round of Wallisch’s last fight, December 15 in Hamburg.
The 6-feet-5, 240-pound Ajagba (9-0, 8 KOs) is listed by most Internet sports books as at least a 30-1 favorite over the 6-feet-5, 241-pound Wallisch (19-1, 12 KOs). Assuming Ajagba beats Wallisch, the promising prospect expects to fight ranked heavyweights as soon as a year from now.
“In one year, or maybe two, I think I’ll be fighting against top guys,” Ajagba said at a press conference Thursday at The Cosmopolitan. “We’re going to keep stepping up. This is my first time fighting on Showtime, so I’m looking forward to that step.”
The only bout Ajagba hasn’t won by knockout since he turned pro in July 2017 was his infamous fight last summer against journeyman Curtis Harper. Ajagba won that bout by disqualification once Harper left the ring immediately after the opening bell sounded August 24 in Minneapolis.
Since the Harper farce, Ajagba has won three straight bouts by knockout, including a two-round demolition of 46-year-old Amir Mansour on March 9 in Carson, California. The 25-year-old Ajagba anticipates extending his knockout streak Saturday night.
“It’s up to my opponent how long the fight lasts,” Ajagba said. “I never say I’m going in to knock him out. I have to feel it and find the moment, and see what he gives me.”
The Ajagba-Wallisch bout will open Showtime’s tripleheader Saturday at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
After Ajaba and Wallisch go at it, Ukraine’s Viktor Postol (30-2, 12 KOs) and France’s Mohamed Mimoune (21-2, 2 KOs) will meet in a 12-round, WBC super lightweight elimination match. In the main event, Robert Easter Jr. (21-1, 14 KOs), of Toledo, Ohio, will battle Cuba’s Rances Barthelemy (27-1, 14 KOs) in a 12-round fight for the vacant WBA “world” and IBO lightweight titles.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.