Nigerian heavyweight prospect Efe Ajagba faced some resistance tonight against Georgian veteran Iago Kiladze, but in the end it was Ajagba forcing another stoppage, going to 12-0 (10 KO) to close out his 2019.
Ajagba, 25 and now based in Texas, looked sharp through two rounds, and floored Kiladze (26-5-1, 18 KO) hard in the second round, but the 33-year-old Kiladze got up and fought on, making it into the third round, where he was wobbled badly enough that Ajagba didn’t even follow up, expecting referee Thomas Taylor to step in, and perhaps Taylor should have.
But Taylor let the fight continue, and then, in a stunner, Kiladze dropped Ajagba. Ajagba got up and got it back together, re-taking contronl in round four before dropping Kiladze again in the fifth on a vicious right hand that, again, probably should have ended the fight, but the stubborn Kiladze refused to stay down, and Taylor let him fight on.
Not for long, though, as Ajagba closed in again and Kiladze’s corner called for a halt to the fight, which Taylor answered. It was the right call by Kiladze’s team, as he’d probably done as much as he was going to do, and there was nothing good going to happen to him from that point on.
Ajagba certainly has his flaws still, maybe always will, but this is another guy with serious power coming up the ranks in the heavyweight division who has thus far been fun to watch. He’s up there with the likes of Daniel Dubois, who fought and won earlier today, as among the more promising rising heavyweights, and 2020 will be hopefully filled with more tests for him.