An interesting heavyweight fight scheduled for January 14 was scrapped Wednesday.
Quebec-based promoter Yvon Michel announced on Twitter that the contender he represents, Oscar Rivas, suffered an eye injury while sparring recently. On the advice of his doctor, Rivas withdrew from his 10-round fight against Efe Ajagba, which was scheduled for January 14 in Verona, New York.
ESPN was set to televise Ajagba-Rivas as a main event next month from Turning Stone Resort Casino. It was not clear at the time this story was posted if Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) will still fight that night against another opponent or if promoter Top Rank will find a new main event altogether.
“We have just informed @trboxing that Oscar Rivas unfortunately has to withdraw from his fight against Efe Ajagba on January 14 in Verona,” Michel wrote in his Tweet. “He injured an eye during his last sparring and his doctor forbids him to enter the ring under these conditions.”
Michel didn’t specify what’s wrong with Rivas’ eye.
The Colombian-born Rivas (28-1, 19 KOs) was supposed to end a 14-month layoff against Ajagba. The Montreal-based Rivas has fought only twice since his lone loss – a 12-round, unanimous-decision defeat to London’s Dillian Whyte (29-3, 19 KOs) in July 2019 at O2 Arena in London.
In his most recent action, the 35-year-old Rivas beat previously unbeaten Canadian prospect Ryan Rozicki (16-1, 15 KOs) by unanimous decision in a 10-rounder that took place in October 2021 at Olympia Theatre in Montreal. Rivas won the inaugural WBC bridgerweight title, for boxers between 200 and 224 pounds, by beating Rozicki.
The 28-year-old Ajagba had hoped to re-establish himself as a heavyweight contender by beating Rivas. The 2016 Nigerian Olympian won his only bout by knockout since Cuban contender Frank Sanchez (21-0, 14 KOs) out-pointed him unanimously in their 10-rounder on the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder undercard in October 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.