Efe Ajagba passes Stephan Shaw for a unanimous decision

Efe Ajagba fared better against an undefeated boxer-puncher on Saturday night than the last time he fought one.

Two fights after his one-sided unanimous decision loss to Frank Sanchez, Ajagba won what amounted to mostly a knockout contest against the previously undefeated Stephan Shaw by unanimous decision. Nigerian Ajagba was the aggressor for almost all 10 rounds, while Shaw seemed reluctant to engage with the hard-hitting heavyweight contender in an ESPN main event broadcast from the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York.

Judges Eric Marlinski, John McKaie and Don Trella scored their uneventful encounter in identical fashion, 96-94 for Ajagba.

“I went back to the corner and they told me to let go of my hands, keep punching, my jab,” Ajagba said. “I controlled the fight, that’s how I won the fight.”

According to CompuBox, Ajagba landed 33 more punches than Shaw (111 of 430 to 78 of 341). CompuBox credited Ajagba for landing more punches (90 of 350 to 48 of 237) and Shaw for landing more power punches (30 of 104 to 21 of 80).

“He tried to land the big shots,” Ajagba said. “I looked at him to see what he was going to do. He kept throwing the jab, using the jab more.

Ajagba (17-1, 13 KO), 2016 Olympian, has won a second straight fight since Sanchez beat him. Cuban Sanchez (21-0, 14 KOs) dropped Ajagba in the seventh round and comfortably outplayed him on all three scorecards in a 10-rounder that was part of the Tyson Fury-Deontay Wilder pay-per-view undercard in October 2021 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

Ajagba underwent surgery on both elbows following his loss to Sanchez. Healthier and more confident, he promised he would box better against Shaw than against Sanchez.

Shaw of St. Louis, meanwhile, was unable to capitalize on the biggest opportunity of his nine-year professional career.

Without hesitation, Shaw (18-1, 13 KOs, 1 NC) took this fight against Ajagba with less than a month’s notice. Ajagba was supposed to fight Colombian contender Oscar Rivas (28-1, 19 KOs), but Rivas suffered retinal detachment in training last month.

Shaw was already training to face Italian prospect Guido Vianello (10-1-1, 9 KOs), who was stopped due to a cut from Jonnie Rice (16-6-1, 11 KOs) in the seventh round of the ESPN co-feature. Saturday night.

By the time the 10th round of the main event began, it seemed clear that Ajagba and Shaw would go the distance.

Ajagba’s right hand set Shaw back with just over a minute left in the 10th and final round.

Ajagba’s right hand backed Shaw into the ropes with 1:25 left in the 10th round.

Shaw rushed forward and landed a left hook with just under 20 seconds left in the ninth round. Just before the end of the ninth round, Shaw landed a long-range right hand.

Shaw snuck in a left hook with just under 30 seconds on the clock in the eighth round.

Ajagba’s left landed with about 1:15 left in round eight. Shaw’s power shot landed just under 20 seconds into round eight.

Shaw connected with a right hand with 1:15 left in the seventh round. They mostly continued to trade jabs in the seventh round.

A power shot from Ajagba backed Shaw into the ropes 40 seconds into round six. Shortly after, Shaw landed a left hook while they were in the center of the ring.

Shaw was more aggressive at times in round five, but he was still fighting mostly on his back foot and avoiding Ajagba’s power.

A sweeping left hook from Shaw connected with just over 35 seconds remaining in the fourth round. A right-left combination from Ajagba connected a minute into the fourth round.

Ajagba dodged Shaw’s right hand and quickly came back to land his own right hand with 1:35 left in the third round.

Ajagba and Shaw slipped in power punches in round two, when they again focused mostly on pumping their jabs.

Ajagba and Shaw traded hard punches with just over 15 seconds left in the first round. Otherwise, neither fighter landed back-to-back punches in the first three minutes.

Keith Idec is senior writer/columnist for BoxingScene.com. He can be contacted on Twitter @Idecboxing.

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