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Looking forward to this! Heavyweight Double-Header


WelshDevilRob
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The Top Rank on ESPN 2023 slate kicks off with a high-powered heavyweight doubleheader Saturday, Jan. 14, at Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

The 10-round main event is a battle of big-punching Olympians, as Efe “The Silent Roller” Ajagba looks to author a signature win over Oscar “Kaboom” Rivas. In the 10-round co-feature, 2016 Italian Olympian Guido “The Gladiator” Vianello takes a seismic step up in class against fellow unbeaten Stephan “Big Shot” Shaw.

Ajagba-Rivas and Vianello-Shaw will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m. ET/7 p.m. PT.
“The heavyweight division is loaded with talent, and we have two 50/50 matchups that will see a pair of contenders emerge at Turning Stone,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum.

Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs), a 2016 Nigerian Olympian, quickly established himself as one of the division’s heaviest hitters following his pro debut in July 2017. He tallied six first-round knockouts in his first eight bouts, using his 6’6 frame and sledgehammer right hand to dispose of his opposition. Last April, Ajagba utilized his right hand to blast out Brian Howard in a Knockout of the Year contender. Following an October 2021 decision defeat to Frank Sanchez, Ajagba had surgery on both his elbows, returning in August to stop Hungarian veteran Jozsef Darmos in the second round.

“I am injury-free and ready to show the world what I can accomplish when I am 100 percent,” Ajagba said. “I respect Oscar Rivas for accepting the challenge. We will give the fans a great show, but I will be victorious on January 14th.”

Rivas (28-1, 19 KOs) is a 2008 Colombian Olympian who moved to Montreal in 2009 to start his professional career. He notched his signature professional victory at Turning Stone in January 2019, knocking out former world title challenger Bryant Jennings in the 12th round. His only blemish came six months later when he traveled to England and dropped a unanimous decision to Dillian Whyte after knocking Whyte down in the ninth round. Since the Whyte defeat, Rivas has fought twice, knocking out Sylvera Louis in three rounds and outlasting Ryan Rozicki by unanimous decision in an all-Canadian showdown while winning the WBC Bridgerweight title. After multiple prospective bouts fell through, Rivas will enter the Ajagba match coming off a nearly 15-month layoff.

Rivas said, “I’m extremely happy to be back in the ring in Verona where I had a lot of success not too long ago. I’m proud of my WBC Bridgerweight title and will be defending it soon, but this opportunity Top Rank gave us at heavyweight was too good to pass up. I also have a lot of respect for Ajagba, and while I agree with him that it will be spectacular for the fans, my skills and my experience will be the difference.”

Vianello (10-0-1, 9 KOs), the fighting pride of Rome, turned pro with great fanfare in December 2018 and won his first seven bouts by stoppage in three rounds or less. His momentum stalled following a 2020 draw against Kingsley Ibeh and an injury-plagued 2021 that saw him fight once. Vianello came back in July and knocked out Rafael Rios in four rounds. Three months later, he returned home to Rome and had thrilled the local fans with a dominating eight-round decision over Jay McFarlane.

Vianello said, “Stephan Shaw is a good, undefeated fighter, but I fight better when presented with top opposition. I look forward to fighting on ESPN as part of a great heavyweight doubleheader.”

Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs), from St. Louis, Missouri, is one of America’s most talented big men, a 6’4, 235-pound boxer-puncher who has knocked out three of his last four foes. He made his Top Rank debut in January, becoming only the third man to knock out Philadelphia’s iron-chinned Joey Dawejko. Shaw tallied three knockdowns in just 2:35 to wipe out Bernardo Marquez in July and then preserved his date against Vianello with an eight-round shutout over Rydell Booker on Nov. 22 in New York City. Shaw will receive his nationally televised big break a decade removed from winning U.S. National and National PAL gold medals as an amateur.

“I’m excited. This is my time to shine. This is my moment,” Shaw said. “I’m ready to go out and there and have some fun. I won’t be under the radar after beating Guido. He’s a good boxer, but I am superior. I will prove that on January 14th.”

Read more: https://www.ringnews24.com/2022/11/30/top-rank-announce-heavyweight-double-header/

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--- Interestingly as far as the intricacies of boxing that exist, Ring did another "Expert" poll of, yep, "Boxing Experts" who picked Chocolotito over Estrada 18-3. 

Does anyone here think they'll do a Fury/Chisora poll? Both are ranked in Boxrec top 10.

Must be embarrassing these days to be a Ring editor!

Anyway, they featured Lerena who seems confident he can whoop young Dubois.

I get to watch all of the above on DAZN who finally seems to have gotten their broadcast reliability sorted.

 

 

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The thing about changing promoters is that TopRank felt like they needed to start over with Ajagba. Like they needed to introduce him the their audience. Yea he was coming off a loss which is why PBC dropped him, but Darmos was an embarrassing drop down in opposition. Now that that's outta the way, Rivas is a serious test allbeit undersized as evidenced by his status as Bridgerweight title holder. Ajagba's not a monster but the difference is 5-6 inches in height. Rivas isn't ancient at 35, hung with Whyte and stopped a quality opponent in Jennings. Ajagba, of course, has come up short before and Darmos would have done nothing to restore a sense of invincibility. Leaning Rivas here.

Shaw is a big step for Vianello whom, no doubt, TopRank would love to break out. Anything can happen with the heavyweights, of course. One shot lands and it's goodnight. It's a bit surprising TopRank takes this risk with Vianello. Shaw's further along and on a nice trajectory. Pinchuk was a particularly good win for him. Shaw for me.

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Ajagba is massively overrated.

 

The guy literally throws a punch like a girl.  I suspect that many of his wins were bought & paid for.  When he finally faced a real opponent in Sanchez, he looked like a clueless beginner.  Afraid to throw and unable to adjust.

 

I like Rivas, but he has flaws,   (especially in his footwork.)  Plus his age...

 

It's a 50 / 50 fight for me, and will be fun & exciting to watch,  but fairly meaningless in the grand scheme of things.

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*****SPOILERS*****

 

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--- Dubois dropped 3x first round that was cut short early...hmmmm...dodgy HOF promoters still at work..

Traps Lerena on ropes for the stoppage in the 2nd round.

Chisora seemingly outworks Flubber only to succumb by another referee stoppage in the 10th.

I predict a PPV flop.

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Inexplcable how Lerena let Dubois off the hook. Musta thought it was gonna be easy after Rd1. After allm one punch essentially forced Dubois down three times. Lerena beraly touched him on the second and third knockdowns. Dubois didn't wanna be there in that moment.

The stoppage was premature. The round was over. Lerena should've gotten the 60 seconds on his stool. Plus at least one of Dubois's punches came after the bell. But that's what Howard Foster does; gifts stoppages to A-side fighters. Froch is probably still making installment payments from the first Groves fight.

The main event? Chisora didn't seem to have a plan of any kind. A roundhouse right landed here and there. But even a bloated Fury started picking him off at will. Fury also seemed to have been watching some Wlad film; land a few then smother the opponent with octopus arms. Victor Loughlin had the best seat in the house.

Fury's there for the taking. He's obviously not all there mentally. Off and on retirement; hasn't a clue what he wants to do next. One might think now would be the time for Usyk to pounce. But perhaps the better move would be to let Fury sink further into listlessness. Usyk could use the excuse that he has mandatories to satisfy. Meantime leave Fury to take more defenses he can't be arsed to train for. Soften him up. Fury's been talking up taking his title on a world tour. So long as his name is on that Kinahan no-fly list, he's not going anywhere. Except the middle east perhaps.

Strategically there's a path to breaking Fury down which Chisora was suited to do but apparently his team didn't see. Fury has openly talked of his shoulders and elbows giving him problems. Any opponent would do well to start pounding on his arms from elbow to shoulder. Fury would be left with nothing on his punches if he could even lift his arms after a few rounds of relentless banging.

Don't see it ending well for Fury. He's already lost his marbles outside the ring. So far it hasn't translated to trouble inside the ropes. But it'll catch up to him down the road.

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We're all angry about this BS,  but imagine how Kevin Lerena feels right now.

 

Screw any official protest.  They should take Howard Foster to civil court.

 

 

And it's Howard Bloody Foster,  ferchissakes.  The man who brought you Froch-Groves I,  Chisoara-Takam,  and Lara-Warrington.  He also scored AJ over Usyk by 115-113.   When Foster retires,  they're gonna' have to open a "Corrupt Boxing OfficialS" Hall of Fame,  just so he can be in it.

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I think Foster's an awful ref (I'll never forgive him for allowing Liam Smith to cheat his way to victory against Liam Williams) but the stoppage on Saturday was okay. Lerena probably got whiplash from that right uppercut. He was going to be stopped the next round even with the break.

Dubois really had no clue about how to react to his leg injury. Shane McGuigan warned his corn with some sound corner work advice.

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Was quite a spectacle! Lerena must've thought he'd hit the jackpot, in the first round. But, knockdowns 2 and 3 were from the leg injury. Lerena has received criticism, for not going all guns blazing but he, obviously, had respect for the power of the huge unit in front of him. His corner probably advised him to be patient, half expecting the fight to end once the leg went again.
But, full credit to DDD he showed heart and courage, to keep going despite the pain and lack of proper balance. McGuigan did his job - spot on, instructing his young charge. The third round was amazing and a testament to Dubois's crushing power. The ropes kept the South African up the 2nd time.

Dubois will have to recover from a serious injury and, then, continue to be guided. But, he's answered questions about the heart. Greats come back from adversity, DDD has ticked that box now. More to add.

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On 11/30/2022 at 11:33 PM, Ledhed1 said:

The thing about changing promoters is that TopRank felt like they needed to start over with Ajagba. Like they needed to introduce him the their audience. Yea he was coming off a loss which is why PBC dropped him, but Darmos was an embarrassing drop down in opposition. Now that that's outta the way, Rivas is a serious test allbeit undersized as evidenced by his status as Bridgerweight title holder. Ajagba's not a monster but the difference is 5-6 inches in height. Rivas isn't ancient at 35, hung with Whyte and stopped a quality opponent in Jennings. Ajagba, of course, has come up short before and Darmos would have done nothing to restore a sense of invincibility. Leaning Rivas here.

Shaw is a big step for Vianello whom, no doubt, TopRank would love to break out. Anything can happen with the heavyweights, of course. One shot lands and it's goodnight. It's a bit surprising TopRank takes this risk with Vianello. Shaw's further along and on a nice trajectory. Pinchuk was a particularly good win for him. Shaw for me.

Nicely put, Led.

Efe Ajagba is only 28, so Top Rank could've taken their time with him. Matching him now against Rivas, seems a bit like a sink-or-swim moment. Maybe, a lack of faith in him. Tbh no shame in losing to the seasoned Frank Sanchez.
Not sure what is happening with Rivas. Can't be money in the Bridgerweight trinket? Also, he seems to have periods of inactivity. A cracking fighter to watch. The loser of this has a lot to lose and it's an intriguing fight.

I need to watch more of Stephen Shaw. He's only 30 and has some recognisable names on his record. Vianelli hasn't impressed me. Maybe, sells loads of tickets to the Italian crowd. But, this is a good match-up and interesting to see who progresses.

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6 hours ago, WelshDevilRob said:

Was quite a spectacle! Lerena must've thought he'd hit the jackpot, in the first round. But, knockdowns 2 and 3 were from the leg injury. Lerena has received criticism, for not going all guns blazing but he, obviously, had respect for the power of the huge unit in front of him. His corner probably advised him to be patient, half expecting the fight to end once the leg went again.
But, full credit to DDD he showed heart and courage, to keep going despite the pain and lack of proper balance. McGuigan did his job - spot on, instructing his young charge. The third round was amazing and a testament to Dubois's crushing power. The ropes kept the South African up the 2nd time.

Dubois will have to recover from a serious injury and, then, continue to be guided. But, he's answered questions about the heart. Greats come back from adversity, DDD has ticked that box now. More to add.

 

I literally think you saw a different fight than I did.

Dude ......

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Another point that I missed. The American commentary was dreadful, for the Dubois fight. I didn't watch the fight live, as refused to pay for this overpriced, unnecessary PPV. I had no interest in Fury vs Chisora 3 - the farcical main event.
It was Andre Ward and, I think, Joe Tessitore. They completely missed the leg injury. NO mention of it during the 2nd and 3rd knockdowns, or Dubois's dodgy footwork after. Or, after Dubois corner mentioned it. It was like they were there in spirit but not putting the work in. Very poor form from the both of them.

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