By Keith Idec
NEW YORK – Efe Ajagba made a courageous opponent pay for his toughness Saturday night.
The unbeaten Nigerian heavyweight prospect took target practice on Rodney Hernandez’s bloodied face before referee Ricky Gonzalez mercifully stepped in to stop their scheduled six-round fight at 1:31 of the fourth round on the Deontay Wilder-Bermane Stiverne undercard at Barclays Center. Ajagba became the first fighter to beat Hernandez (10-7-2, 2 KOs) by knockout or technical knockout since Hernandez turned pro in November 2011.
The win was the second in two weeks for the 6-feet-3, 226-pound Ajagba (3-0, 3 KOs). The 2016 Olympian knocked out Luke Lyons (5-1, 2 KOs) in the first round October 21 at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey.
Hernandez was aggressive from the opening bell, but Ajagba largely landed at will against him and bloodied Hernandez’s nose by the second round. Ajagba connected with an array of straight right hands, uppercuts and jabs as Hernandez plowed forward without many attempts to move his head.
There weren’t any knockdowns during the one-sided bout.
Following Ajagba’s easy victory, Brooklyn’s Chris Colbert beat Titus Williams by unanimous decision in an eight-round featherweight fight.
Colbert (7-0, 2 KOs) used his speed and athleticism to out-box Williams, scored a fourth-round knockdown and won comfortably on all three scorecards (79-72, 79-72, 78-73). Williams, of Elmont, New York, lost for the first time as a professional (7-1, 2 KOs).
Williams tried his best to rally for a knockout in the last couple rounds, but Colbert was too sound defensively to get caught with the big shot Williams needed to change the course of their fight.
Colbert connected with a short right hand that scored a knockdown against Williams with 35 seconds to go in the fourth round. Colbert controlled the action thereafter by occasionally landing right hands and using his legs to mostly remain out of Williams’ punching range.
Earlier Saturday night, Brooklyn’s Amanda Serrano made quick work of the Dominican Republic’s Marilyn Hernandez in a junior lightweight women’s match scheduled for 10 rounds.
Serrano (34-1-1, 26 KOs), who has won world titles in five weight classes, dropped Hernandez (26-11, 17 KOs) three times in the first round and the fight was stopped just 2:38 into it.
Keith Idec is a senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be reached on Twitter @Idecboxing.