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Nigerian heavyweight Efe Ajagba faces Frank Sanchez tonight in Nevada, with the undefeated Cuban putting his WBC Continental Americas heavyweight title on the line.
The fight between the potential future heavyweight champions is on the undercard of the Tyson Fury versus Deontay Wilder title fight at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The equally undefeated Ajagba, with a perfect 15-0 fight record, with 12 of those wins coming via knockouts, comes in as the underdog against Sanchez (18-0, 13 knockouts), a former amateur champion with highly technical boxing skills who combines fast movements with good punching power.
But Ajagba’s ability to receive shots as much as he can give makes him a dangerous proposition for any boxer in the heavyweight rank, and Sanchez has never been in the ring with someone that carries the punching power of the 27-year-old Nigerian, who came to global attention at the 2016 Olympics with his devastating knockout of Trinidadian Nigel Paul in the first round of their bout.
Ajagba also holds the record for the fastest victory in boxing history after his opponent was disqualified for leaving the ring one second after the opening bell, but he is often dismissed by so-called boxing experts as a power-punching one-trick pony devoid of any skill.
But the criticism doesn’t faze Ajagba as he prepares to face the 29-year-old Cuban at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
“I see and hear a lot of people say that, but I don’t care,” he said in a recent interview with the BBC. “Like I said, when I land one punch it’s over. Frank Sanchez moves a lot and his plan is going to be to move around and stay out of range.
“A lot of people keep talking about him being a more skilful fighter. Okay, I agree – but let’s see on Saturday,” added Ajagba, who hopes a win over Sanchez and one or two more fights will put him in the conversation for a crack at the world title soon.
“Next year,” he states. “Looking for possibly one more fight, then that’s it. But I’m looking forward to Sanchez first. After that, I’ll see who’s there to fight before the world title shot.”