What is Efe Ajagba’s ceiling?
Hard-hitting heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba (13-0, 11KOs) will be returning to action on September 19 when he takes on Jonathan Rice (13-5-1, 9KOs) in his Top Rank debut.
The 6’6 Nigerian giant finds himself under the watchful eyes of fans and boxing pundits. A 2016 Olympic representative of the Nigerian National team, Ajagba left the amateur ranks with high expectations. With the height, reach and power, what’s not to like? Well if you watch him fight, there’s actually a few things that may cause some hesitation to proclaim him a future world champion.
Today’s rising heavyweight crop is deep with the likes of Daniel Dubois, Tony Yoka, Flip Hrgovic and Joe Joyce just to name a few. It is paramount that Ajagba keep pace with his fellow counterparts.
Let’s go back to 2019 when he fought Iago Kiladze (26-5-1, 18KOs). That fight that was expected to be another showcase outing for the Nigerian. However, it turned out to be anything but that. He was dropped in the third round by a hard right hand! It may appear that other than being knocked down, it was a very good performance. Yet, it wasn’t. Against Kiladze, his stamina was an issue and his defense was leaky, to say the least. He also seemed to be a bit robotic with little to no head movement.
ARMED WITH TIME
At 26 years, he still has plenty of time to improve. With the already-established champions and contenders and his fellow rising prospects improving, he needs to show some improvement against Rice to restore the hope fans and pundits had, and may still have in him, going forward.
So how high is his ceiling? Only time will tell that. But at the present time, I would refrain from hailing him as a true heavyweight threat until further notice.
By: Jerrell Fletcher