Efe Ajagba settled for a disqualification win when unbeaten prospect Zhan Kossobutskiy was tossed after an absurdly excessive amount of low blows. The visiting Kazakh heavyweight was deducted two points in round three and ultimately tossed by referee Chris Flores at 0:33 of round four In their ESPN-televised co-feature Saturday from Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Kossobutskiy found a home for his right hand in the opening round versus an initially passive Ajagba. It didn’t take long for momentum to shift as Ajagba—a 2016 Olympian for Nigeria now based in the greater Houston area—repeatedly hurt Kossobutskiy to the body in an entertaining round two. The 34-year-old southpaw–who made his U.S. debut—twice turned away as if he was hit low and sought help from the referee. Kossobutskiy came back to land a right hand later in the round but Ajagba was riding high on confidence.
That changed in round three. Kossobutskiy landed two consecutive left uppercuts well below the border, which forced Ajagba to drop to his knees in pain. Time was called as Flores escorted Kossobutskiy around the ring to inform the judges to deduct one point from his overall score. A similar sequence occurred moments later, at which point Kossobutskiy was warned that he was on the verge of disqualification.
Not to be outdone, Ajagba was warned later in the round for a low blow of his own though it appeared to be more incidental than intentional.
Kossobutskiy was clearly checked out at the start of the fourth round. A deliberate low blow forced Ajagba to the canvas, as Kossobutskiy strutted to a neutral corner well aware that he was on his way to the loss column.
A golden opportunity was squandered as Kossobutskiy fell to 19-1 (18KOs) in a wasted stateside trip. The bout came eight weeks after his original plans to travel to the U.S. for a July 1 clash versus Jared Anderson (15-0, 14KOs), who instead faced and defeated former IBF heavyweight titlist Charles Martin.
Ajagba (18-1, 13KOs) picked up his third consecutive win after an October 2021 loss to Frank Sanchez in Las Vegas. The 29-year-old has yet to reemerge as a heavyweight to watch but is slowly boxing his way back into contention.
Headlining the show, Anderson faces Andriy Rudenko (35-6, 21KOs) in a scheduled ten-round heavyweight contest.