Saturday evening at Turning Stone Resort & Casino in New York sees heavyweights top the bill, with Efe Ajagba meeting Stephan Shaw in the main event over a scheduled ten rounds.
Top Rank promote Ajagba vs Shaw and the card can be seen on Sky Sports in the UK, and ESPN in the USA.
Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) was due to take on WBC bridgerweight champion Oscar Rivas, but the Colombian was forced to withdraw due to an eye injury, so in steps Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs) on just over two weeks’ notice.
Ajagba made a solid start to his professional career, and was highly-touted, after several early wins.
The wheels came off somewhat though in October 2021, as the 28-year-old was dropped in round seven on the way to a lopsided points loss to fellow prospect Frank Sanchez in Las Vegas.
The Nigeria native was last out in August 2022, stopping Jozsef Darmos in two rounds.
‘Big Shot’ has been making his name on much smaller bills.
The 30-year-old, a former sparring partner of ex-WBC heavyweight world champion, Deontay Wilder was on a three-fight knockout streak until his last fight, in November last year, where he was taken the full eight rounds by Rydell Booker before winning every frame on the scorecards.
This looks a big step-up in class for the St Louis native.
Prediction: Ajagba will want to make waves in 2023, and I can’t see him slipping up against Shaw. He should be able to close the show before the halfway mark.
Vianello meets Rice
Another heavyweight hope features on the undercard.
Las Vegas-based Italian Guido Vianello was set to fight Shaw originally, but he now takes a tricky scheduled ten round assignment against Jonathan Rice.
Vianello (10-0-1, 9 KOs) was has won three on the spin since a six round draw with Kingsley Ibeh in 2020, but looked laboured in his last fight, an eight round points win against Scotland’s Jay McFarlane in Rome.
Rice (15-6-1, 10 KOs) is coming off a couple of wins against Michael Polite Coffie, a fifth round stoppage in in July 2021 was followed by a ten round points success last January.
Prediction: Vianello can take this one, after a few scares, on the cards.
Abraham Nova (21-1, 15 KOs) is coming off his first professional loss, a fifth round knockout at the hands of Robeisy Ramirez in June, and the super featherweight can take a tight points win against Adam Lopez (16-3, 6 KOs) over ten rounds.
In eight rounders, Floyd Diaz (8-0, 3 KOs) should remain undefeated, and the super bantamweight can take a decision win against Edwin Rodriguez (11-6-2, 5 KOs).
Unbeaten welterweight, Brian Norman Jr (22-0, 19 KOs) can also stay perfect, with an early victory against Argentina’s Rodrigo Damian Coria (10-4, 2 KOs).
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Haven Brady Jr (8-0, 4 KOs) should win his super featherweight encounter against Ruben Cervera (13-3, 11 KOs) on points.
Rohan Polanco (8-0, 5 KOs) can score a stoppage in his welterweight contest against Julian Smith (6-1, 4 KOs).
In six round action, super lightweight Bryce Mills (10-1, 4 KOs) can halt Margarito Hernandez (3-3-1) inside schedule, and at light heavyweight Dante Benjamin (4-0, 2 KOs) can diffuse Emmanueal Austin (6-0, 6 KOs) and take a points win.
Bruce Carrington (5-0, 3 KOs) should defeat Juan Antonio Lopez (17-12-1, 7 KOs) on the cards at featherweight.
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