Max Warren talks to trainer Ronnie Shields about rising heavyweight Efe Ajagba
Tomorrow night at the Toyota Arena in Ontario, Ca, Efe “The One and Only” Ajagba (11-0, 9KOs) faces Iago Kiladze (26-4, 18KOs) on the undercard of the Tony Harrison vs. Jermell Charlo rematch.
Interestingly, the most notable accomplishment of Ajagba’s career is recording the fastest KO victory in boxing history. In that fight, his opponent Curtis Harper exited the ring and walked to the dressing room as soon as the bell rang. The match went viral receiving a boat load of publicity.
Although intriguing, the milestone will likely be a mere footnote in a respectable career for Ajagba.
Kiladze, Ajagba’s opponent for Saturday, is a 31-fight veteran from the country of Georgia. He has faced notable heavyweight title contenders Joe Joyce, Michael Hunter, and Adam Kownacki. He lost to all three opponents by knockout.
In fact, all of Kiladze’s losses are by KO. In other words, don’t get up and get something to eat. Ajagba is expected to earn a knockout win and move on to bigger things in 2020, continuing his ascent towards becoming a world title challenger.
His renowned trainer, Ronnie Shields, anticipates big things to come for “The One and Only.”
“[Ajagba] has been improving everyday,” said Shields. “He is a kid who wants to learn and wants to be a champion. He knows he’s a young kid and has to take baby steps. We don’t want to rush him into anything, but at the same time we realize that he’s 11-0 now.
“Hopefully everything goes right on Saturday and that’ll make him 12-0. We feel like now we have to start stepping him up a little bit more.”
Unlike current IBF/WBA/WBO heavyweight world champion Anthony Joshua, Ajagba’s path towards a title won’t be rushed. The plan is to allow him to progress methodically and make the necessary adjustments as his career moves forward.
Shields thinks that people will learn to appreciate Ajagba even more as his career unfolds.
“We have to keep sharpening him up all the time,” Shields said. “I’m telling you, next year will be a big year for Efe Ajagba.”
In respect to how people will perceive Ajagba, Shields had this to say.
“People will appreciate everything that he does. This kid works hard man.I have to pull him off of stuff because he’s trying to do too much. Most trainers would dream of having the same scenario with some of their fighters.”
He also mentioned that Ajagba is an astute observer and thinker.
“He is a student of the game,” said Shields. “He studies his opponents, so he knows everything that I’m telling him. If I tell him something, he’ll say ‘I see that. I saw that on film.’
Shields sees big things for Ajagba in the future.
There’s always room to make the heavyweight division more exciting.