By Boxing Bob Newman at ringside
Nigerian heavyweight Efe “Silent Roller” Ajagba won a ten round unanimous decision over St. Louis’ Stephan “Big Shot” Shaw to close out the show on Saturday night at the Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York. Ajagba was looking to make it two in a row after his lone setback to Frank Sanchez in October 2021, while Shaw was looking to remain undefeated.
Things opened up cautiously, each man looking to establish their jab in round one. Ajagba move forward in round two, again behind his jab, while Shaw opted to use good lateral movement, countering on occasion and initiating the action only when Ajagba stopped his forward momentum. At the end of the fourth, the first sign of crowd dissatisfaction showed as boos cascaded the ring due to the tactical, if not scintillating action. With two heavyweights known for their knockout power, this was a very carefully fought match, with neither man wanting to risk getting caught in a wild exchange.
Yet, after each round, Shaw would pump his right fist in the air as he walked to his corner, if not to convince the judges that he won that round, then to convince himself. Despite the fact that the action had been an instant replay of itself round after round, the crowd rained down another avalanche of boos midway through the ninth. Late in the tenth round, the cacophony boos repeated itself which seemed to Ajagba to unleash a Gatling gun of jabs that snapped Shaw’s head back violently. While each man appeared to employ very different game plans it appeared Ajagba’s was the more successful. In the end, the judges agreed as all three scored it 96-94 in favor of Ajagba, now 17-1, 13 KOs. Shaw loses his first at 18-1, 13 KOs.
“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,” said Ajagba. “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.”
Photos: Bob Newman