Sunday, January 15th 2023
Hey, Efe! Ajagba Edges Stephan Shaw in Heavyweight Main Event
Rice stuns Vianello in co-feature
VERONA, N.Y. (Jan. 14, 2023) — The heavyweights boxed instead of brawled, and Efe Ajagba closed the show strong. Ajagba edged the previously unbeaten Stephan Shaw by 10-round unanimous decision (96-94 3x) Saturday evening at Turning Stone Resort Casino.
Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs) won his second straight bout since a 2021 defeat to Frank Sanchez. He had surgeries on both elbows after that fight and has re-established himself as a contender to watch. Shaw (18-1, 13 KOs) was ahead 58-56 on all three judges’ cards after the sixth but was outlanded 62-37 in the last four rounds.
In a battle of jabs, Ajagba landed his with more frequency (90-48).
“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.”
Rice Shocks Vianello in Co-Feature
The heavyweight, spoiler, Jonnie Rice, did it again. Rice (16-6-1, 11 KOs) stunned Guido Vianello (10-1-1, 9 KOs), stopping the 2016 Italian Olympian in the seventh round. 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.
After a conference with the local commission, the ruling was reversed. Rice entered the fight coming off back-to-back victories over highly regarded prospect Michael Coffie.
At the time of the stoppage, all three judges had Vianello ahead: 59-55 2x and 58-56.
“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.”
Junior Lightweights: Abraham “El Super” Nova (22-1, 15 KOs) exorcised the demon of last June’s knockout loss to Robeisy Ramirez and knocked down Adam “BluNose” Lopez (16-4, 6 KOs) twice to win a 10-round unanimous decision. The first four rounds were razor-thin, but in the fifth, Nova landed a left hook during an exchange that floored Lopez. In the sixth, Nova knocked down Lopez again, creating a wide gulf on the cards. Lopez buzzed Nova in the eighth but was unable to press the advantage. Scores: 97-91 and 98-90 2x.
Lightweights: Haven Brady Jr. (9-0, 4 KOs) dominated early and had to hold off the late charge of Colombian banger Ruben Cervera (13-4, 11 KOs). Brady was clipped with an overhand right at the end of the fifth round, but he weathered the storm and notched an eight-round unanimous decision. Scores: 80-72, 79-73, and 78-74.
Welterweights: Local favorite Bryce Mills (11-1, 4 KOs), from nearby Liverpool, New York, had the fans on their feet from the time he made his ring walk. He did not disappoint, shutting out the aggressive Margarito Hernandez (3-4-1) over six rounds. Scores: 60-54 3x.
Welterweights: Brian Norman Jr. (23-0, 19 KOs) made his Top Rank debut and shook off the ring rust with an eight-round unanimous decision over Argentina’s Rodrigo Coria (10-5, 2 KOs). Norman nearly stopped Coria in the opening round, but the southpaw veteran survived and even stunned Norman with a lead left hand in the seventh. Norman scored a knockdown with a left hook in the eighth round to secure the win. Scores: 79-72 and 77-74 2x.
Featherweights: Undefeated Brooklyn-born prospect Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (6-0, 3 KOs) rolled past Juan Antonio Lopez (17-13-1, 7 KOs) but received some much-needed experience en route to a six-round unanimous decision victory. Scores: 60-54 3x.
Light Heavyweights: Cleveland-born prospect Dante Benjamin Jr. (5-0, 3 KOs) prevailed in the battle of unbeatens with a first-round round TKO over Emmanueal Austin (6-1, 6 KOs). Benjamin knocked down Austin with a left-right combination. Time of stoppage: 2:50.