Weekend Boxing Report: Efe Beats Shaw, Tank vs. Ryan, and Joshua’s New Trainer
It wasn’t all that pretty, but the 2016 Olympian Efe Ajagba didn’t allow Stephan Shaw to have a storybook moment as Ajagba jabbed his way to a 10-round decision over Shaw in a tactical fight that saw all three judges score the fight 96-94 for Ajagba.
The fight was strange. Ajagba normally thought of as brute and slugger fought very patiently behind a jab, and Shaw was content sitting back and through in spurts. IBHOF inductee Timothy Bradley Jr., who broadcast the fight made an astute observation that he hoped to see Shaw punch between the punches of Ajagba, but it appeared that Shaw and Ajagba were looking to take turns punching, as very few exchanges occurred between the punches.
When looking at CompuBox’s numbers Ajagba landed 111 of 430 total punches compared to Shaw who landed 78 of 341. The big shock was Ajagba landed nearly double the number of jabs exploiting his 85-inch reach as he landed 90 jabs as opposed to Shaw who landed 48 jabs. In terms of power punches, Shaw landed 30 power shots while Ajagba landed 21.
“I went back to the corner and they told me to let my hands go, keep throwing punches, my jab. I controlled the fight, so that’s how I won the fight,” Ajagba said. “He tried to land the big shots. I watched him to see what he was going to do. He kept throwing the jab, using the jab more.”
In short, Ajagba won the fight with a jab. It wasn’t all that exciting, but Ajagba fought a fight, we’d never seen him fight as a pro, and coming off the Frank Sanchez loss – this was massive for his career.
The ESPN co-feature saw Jonnie Rice stop Guido Vianello in the seventh round of a scheduled ten-round fight. Rice landed a big right hand on Vianello that cut him open over the eye, less than a minute into the seventh round the gash opened up wide. Then the boxing stuff happened.
Veteran referee Benjy Esteves Jr., originally ruled for the fight to go the scorecards as he ruled the cut via headbutt, but open further review with video replay being used it was rightly called a stoppage win for Rice, who now is on a career-high as he holds two wins over Michael Coffie, and now undefeated Guido Vianello. I hope Rice gets paid well in his next fight.
“I did it again… another undefeated fighter,” Rice said. “I’m not here to call anyone out right now. I’m going to enjoy this victory and then see what’s next.”
The fight of the night saw Abraham Nova record the biggest win of his career when he defeated Adam Lopez on his birthday via a ten-round decision. Nova would drop Lopez twice, one shouldn’t have been called, but Nova’s longtime friend and head coach Mark DeLuca to me was the difference. The fight was close early, but a motivational speech from DeLuca seemed to motivate his fighter, Nova, which seemed to swing the fight.
A great fight by both and an early contender for the round of the year with rounds eight and ten being great.
Haven Brady Jr. competing as a lightweight after he missed weight in his fight with Ruben Cervera, picked up an eight-round decision. The fight was rugged. Brady Jr. is fighting tough opponents and proving himself, but Brady Jr needs to find a weight class as he has weigh-in issues twice now.
Welterweight Brian Norman Jr. made his Top Rank debut against Rodrigo Coria in a fight that showed that Norman has some room to improve, but also has a high ceiling if he continues on his upward trajectory as a fighter.
Featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington got a six-round decision over Juan Antonio Lopez and shook off some ring rust.
Light heavyweight Dante Benjamin Jr. made a massive statement stopping Emmanueal Austin in the first round. Austin was previously unbeaten with first-round KOs in every fight.
Anthony Joshua appears to be training with Derrick James now.
Oscar De La Hoya has given Gervonta “Tank” Davis a deadline of Monday, January 16th to send a contract to Ryan Garcia…his social per.media account.
I wrote about Kim Clavel for NYFights.com; you can read it here. She came up short in a world title unification bout as she lost to Jessica Nery Plata, who now holds the light flyweight WBC and WBA world titles.
Clavel is a compelling figure since she put her career on hold to box, but re-entered the workforce to help with patients who had COVID-19 during the pandemic. The fight proved one thing, Clavel is certainly a fighter, but the jury is out on her technical skill.
Nery Plata outworked Clavel, but the big takeaway was Clavel’s heart was never on trial, but her defense was as she took an assortment of eye-catching shots. The action was back-and-forth, and worthy of a fight of the year nomination though I doubt it will get the mention.
Certainly fit for a rematch down the road, as Nery Plata has defeated Yessica Bopp, and Kim Clavel in back-to-back fights.
Marie Pier Houle has had a rather infamous career so far, her fight against Jeanette Zacarias Zapata made headlines for all the wrong reasons as Zapata passed away from injuries caused in that fight, and Pier Houle’s in-ring celebration really aged poorly. On this night, Marisol Moreno should’ve won the fight, but saw that right taken from her, as the cards were wide, and all in Pier Houle’s favor.
Jake Donovan summed this up best in his BoxingScene.com report which I have included below.
“Scores of 77-75, 79-73, and especially 80-72 completely missed the plot in the eight-round welterweight battle. Moreno—a well-conditioned 28-year-old from Mazatlan, Mexico— consistently beat ‘MPH’ to the punch in the early rounds, steady with her jab as she threw crisp shots straight down the middle. Houle took several rounds to get her offense untracked before picking up the pace in round four. The fight offered plenty of competitive two-way action from that point through the final bell, including a brave last-round stand by Houle—a 32-year-old prospect from Terrebonne, Quebec— who was instructed to let her hands go and not leave it in the hands of the judges.”Jake Donovan, Boxingscene.
The shining light for Canadian boxing on this night was Caroline Veyre who won a six-round decision and looked promising. Veyre still is a little stiff and robotic converting to a professional style, but has a high upside, IMO.
Ty Tomlin got back to his winning after his first career loss as he won off-television in Kentucky. It was an eight-round decision.
Despite the circus-like nature of influencer boxing from a media standpoint, ‘boy, do they bring eyeballs to a website’.
The main event saw KSI, the promoter of the event, stop FaZe Temperrr, another popular YouTuber in the first round.
The lone highlight of the show was Salt Papi, an influencer with boxing ability. Salt Papi fights like a composed fighter, who right now outside of Jake Paul looks to be the best influencer fighter.
Keep in mind with the five-year DAZN deal, Misfits Boxing is not a trend it is one of the things DAZN is investing in for the future.
MMA in 500 Words Or Less
In a light heavyweight bout, Sean Strickland got a five-round decision over Nassourdine Imavov, Don Ige also won a fight on the card as well as Raquel Pennington.