Efe Ajagba ended Stephan Shaw’s unbeaten record after securing victory via unanimous decision in a tight heavyweight contest in New York.
Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs) re-established himself as a contender to watch after a solid display during a largely uneventful encounter at Turning Stone Resort Casino, with all three judges scoring the 10-round clash 96-94 in favour of the Nigerian.
The 28-year-old was trailing on all three cards against Shaw (18-1, 13 KOs), although landed far more punches and jabs than the American over the last four rounds to win his second straight bout since returning from surgeries on both elbows.
“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,” Ajagba said.
“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.”
Defeat is a significant setback for ‘Big Shot’ Shaw, who took the fight at short notice after Colombian contender Oscar Rivas suffered an injury in training and had the ambitious target of becoming America’s next heavyweight boxing champion.
Shaw was due to originally be on the undercard and face Italian prospect Guido Vianello, who suffered a shock defeat earlier in the evening when he was stopped in the seventh round by Jonnie Rice (16-6-1, 11 KOs).
Vianello was cut over the left eye by a right hand in the sixth round, although the referee initially ruled it was caused by an accidental headbutt, with the ruling then reversed after a conference with the local commission.
“I did it again… another undefeated fighter,” Rice said. “I’m not here to call anyone out right now. I’m going to enjoy this victory and then see what’s next.”