Efe Ajagba is officially set for his Top Rank debut.
An opponent has been secured for the unbeaten rising heavyweight, as Ajagba will face Los Angeles’ Jonathan Rice in a 10-round clash on the September 19 show live from The Bubble in Las Vegas. The bout will come in supporting capacity to a 10-round junior welterweight headliner between former two-division titlist Jose Pedraza and Javier Molina.
ESPN.com senior boxing writer Steve Kim was the first to report the news of Rice being named as Ajagba’s opponent.
Ajagba (13-0, 11KOs) will fight for the second time this year, though his first since signing with Top Rank earlier this summer. The move was the final step in a complete makeover for the 2016 Nigerian Olympian who is now based out of Stafford, Texas. Prior to joining the Las Vegas-based promotional powerhouse, Ajagba entered an advisory deal with James Prince and has since added renowned trainer Kay Koroma to his corner.
With all of that will now come the next step in career with nothing but upside.
“Anytime you have the opportunity to showcase an undefeated power punching heavyweight who will be a player in the division shortly, it’s a win-win,” Carl Moretti, vice president of operations for Top Rank told BoxingScene.com.
Ajagba turned pro in July 2017, with the bulk of his career taking place on the undercard of Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) events while fighting for Richard Schaefer’s Ringstar Promotions. The 26-year old knockout now joins a loaded Top Rank heavyweight stable as part of a trio of 2016 Olympians that includes France’s 2016 Olympic Gold medalist Tony Yoka, Italy’s Guido Vianello, along with American prospect Jared ‘Big Baby’ Anderson and lineal heavyweight champion Tyson Fury of Manchester, England.
In his most recent start, Ajagba scored a 9th round stoppage of Razvan Cojanu this past March in Brooklyn, New York.
Rice (13-5-1, 9KOs) suffered a 10th round stoppage at the hands of Australia’s Demsey McKean (18-0, 12KOs) in his last fight, on the same day as Ajagba’s previous contest though on the other side of the world in Queensland, Australia. Prior to the loss, Rice had won three straight, all taking place in Tijuana. Saturday’s bout will mark his first in the United States since September 2018.
Jake Donovan is a senior writer for BoxingScene.com. Twitter: @JakeNDaBox