Unbeaten Nigerian Olympian—who scored four stoppages in the first round, and one before the bell even sounded in 2018—has become must-see TV.
2018 was a big year for Premier Boxing Champions and an even bigger year for our BIG guys. While WBC heavyweight world champion Deontay Wilder was making many of the headlines with his two Fight-of-the-Year candidates, another huge heavyweight—unbeaten prospect Efe Ajagba also made quite the name for himself.
The Nigerian-born Ajagba (8-0, 7 KOs), who moved to Houston in the summer of 2017 to train under the guidance of Ronnie Shields, fought five times over the last calendar year—scoring four devastating first-round knockouts. But it was Ajagba’s lone non-stoppage victory that made the biggest splash.
The 2016 Nigerian Olympian, nicknamed “The One and Only,” was all set to face Curtis Harper on a PBC on FS1 card on August 24 at The Armory in Minneapolis.
The two men touched gloves in the center of the ring and went back to their respective corners to wait for the bell to sound. By the time Ajagba had taken his first of three steps toward the center of the ring, Harper already had pivoted away and begun exiting through the ropes. He rapidly walked out of the arena and into the locker room using the same entry ramp and sending shock waves through the fans packed inside the Armory.
“I started walking toward him and saw him stepping through the ropes. I was shocked and surprised at first, thinking maybe it was a joke,” Ajagba said.
It was no joke as Ajagba was declared the winner by disqualification at one second into the first round. Harper said he walked out of the ring because "he’s not getting paid enough to fight,” but Ajagba's promoter Ringstar Sports CEO Richard Schaefer had a different theory.
"This was legendary," Schaefer told ESPN. "We waited a long time to have another heavyweight who instills fear in his opponents by just being in the ring and looking at them. The last time a fighter instilled that kind of fear in an opponent was Mike Tyson. The heavyweight division has a new star, and his name is Efe. No doubt that he is the biggest puncher in the sport.”
Whether he’s stopping opponents directly after the bell sounds or terrorizing them into submission beforehand, Ajagba—who beat out other top prospects Carlos Balderas, Joe Joyce, Joey Spencer and Eimantas Stanionis for our PBC Prospect Of The Year award—has become must-see TV every time he steps into the ring.