Efe Ajagba is not short on confidence in his own ability, never more so than in preparation for the biggest fight of his career to date.
The heavy-handed Nigerian prospect believes no stone was left unturned for his upcoming showdown with Frank Sanchez. The battle of unbeaten heavyweights takes place Saturday evening on Pay-Per-View from T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas as the chief support to the trilogy clash between lineal/WBC heavyweight champion Tyson Fury and former WBC titlist Deontay Wilder.
The four-fight PPV telecast features all heavyweights, two with whom Ajagba spent extensive time in training camp—Fury and Jared Anderson (9-0, 9KOs) who faces Vladimir Tereshkin in the televised opener.
“Sparring and training with both of those guys, I was able to work on a lot of different things,” Ajagba told BoxingScene.com. “Fury wanted me in camp for my punching power to help him prepare for (a third fight with) Wilder. Working with him and with Jared, I got to prepare for how to fight a mover and cutting off the ring.
“Whoever Frank Sanchez thinks he is facing, he has not seen my best. He will see it on Saturday night and is in for a big surprise.”
Ajagba (15-0, 12KOs) quickly developed a reputation as a knockout artist early in his pro career after representing Nigeria in the 2016 Rio Olympics. The rare exception along the way came two fights ago, when Ajagba—in his first fight with new trainer Kay Koroma and in his Top Rank debut–went the ten-round distance in a clear-cut win over Jonathan Rice last September.
A return to his explosive ways came in Ajagba’s most recent outing, a highlight reel 3rd round knockout of Brian Howard this past April at Osage Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The showing was impressive enough for Fury to enlist his services during training camp when the show was originally scheduled to take place July 24 before the entire card was moved to this weekend after Fury tested positive for Covid.
The impressive performance was also enough to put Ajagba on the radar of Sanchez (18-0, 13KOs). It was a matchup that has been craved for quite some time by the unbeaten Cuban heavyweight, who shares training quarters with Saul ‘Canelo’ Alvarez and former heavyweight titlist Andy Ruiz—among several others—under the watchful eye of 2019 Trainer of the Year Eddy Reynoso.
“I’ve heard he wants to fight me for quite some time,” acknowledged Ajagba, “I am going to show him (on Saturday), that he made a huge mistake calling me out.
“He thinks I can only punch, that he can taste my power and outbox me. Believe me, he will get (a taste) of that and a lot more that he doesn’t know about me.”
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox