Ajagba, Plant, Rise To The Occasion On Fox Undercard
By: Sean Crose
Rising heavyweight Efe Ajagba, 11-0, won yet another fight on Saturday – though it may have been a bit more challenging than he had expected to be. The Nigerian power puncher had stepped into the ring at the MGM Grand in Vegas with all but one of his wins coming by way of knockout. Yet Ajabga’s opponent, the 11-1 Turkish hitter Ali Eren Demirezen came in with all but one of his victories having come by knockout, as well. It was a fight where someone’s oh had to go, and one couldn’t be faulted for thinking the bout might end soon.
The match, however, went the full ten. It was the first time Ajagba has gone the distance, and – although he got the win – the fighter was given a true run. Demirezen was effectively a fighter on the offensive Saturday, something Ajagba had yet to face at such a level. Showing himself to be a quick study, Ajagba was able to fend off his aggressive foe, even though Demirezen actually had him going back – a strange thing to happen to a knockout machine. At the very least, Ajagba can now boast of having gone serious rounds, something that’s important for a fighter on the rise.
Next up, the IBF super middleweight champ Caleb Plant, 19-0, made quick work of the 21-1 Mike Lee. Although much had been made of Lee being a Notre Dame grad and for promoting Subway, the challenger was no match for the highly skilled Plant, who dropped his man numerous times before stopping Lee in the third round. Lee was first dropped in the first round. He survived that situation, making it through the opening round, and through the entire second round, as well. Plant sent his man down twice more in the third, however, and referee Robert Byrd wisely stopped the fight.
“I take my hat off to Mike for getting in here,” Plant said afterward, “because it takes a champion to get in the ring, but it’s ‘and still.’” Plant is looking to earn another super middleweight title belt, while Ajagba is expected to keep trying to move up the heavyweight ranks. Both fights were aired live on Fox as part of the undercard of the highly anticipated Manny Pacquiao-Keith Thurman WBA welterweight title bout, which would be aired on Fox Pay Per View, along with several other undercard bouts.