Heavyweight Efe Ajagba of Nigeria (19-1, 14 KOs) sealed his status as a legitimate contender in his division with a dominating fifth-round TKO win over Joe Goodall of Brisbane, Australia (10-2-1, 9 KOs). The pair were featured as the main event in the first fight card at the new Tahoe Blue Event Center in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
It was the fourth straight victory for Ajagba since his only loss to Frank Sanchez. It also afforded Ajagba, a 2016 Olympian, the chance to get revenge on Goodall after losing to him in amateur competition at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.
THAT'S HOW YOU DO IT.
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Goodall won the opportunity to face Ajagba after his upset win in July over promising heavyweight prospect Stephan Shaw. Unfortunately for Goodall, it put him in front of a newly energized Ajagba after his recovery from injuries.
Ajagba credited his team, led by trainer Kay Koroma, for his newly re-energized style. “Right now, I come back with full confidence. That's why I was able to take him out,” said Ajagba. “Thank God they pushed me through. They made me work hard, extremely hard, for this camp to make sure I stay in shape. I spar (with) a lot of different guys to make me stay strong.”
Ajagba worked efficiently behind a strong jab, keeping Goodall at distance throughout the fight. His upper body movement and footwork are greatly improved, though he will never be mistaken for Manny Pacquiao. Keeping opponents guessing allows his power punching to be more efficient.
Is Zhang Next For Efe Ajagba?
CompuBox statistics had Ajagba landing 61 of 140 total punches (44%), including 29 of 81 jabs (36%) and 32 of 59 power punches (54%). Goodall landed 28 of 81 total punches, split between 14 jabs and 14 power punches.
Trainer Kay Koroma said it was his team's goal to build Ajagba's confidence back. “He's having more fun in the gym. We’re trying to challenge him in the gym instead of in the fight.”
As for the next challenge, Chinese heavyweight Zhilei Zhang sat ringside to see his potential opponent Ajagba up close. Ajagba declined to call out Zhang after the fight, saying only, “Whatever comes my way, I'm ready.”
Muratalla Mows Down Torres
Lightweight Raymond Muratalla of Fontana, California (19-0, 16 KOs) becomes the first to stop and beat Diego Torres of Mexico (18-1, 17 KOs), putting the lightweight division on notice in Saturday's co-feature.
Muratalla is mastering the art of working with distance. He moves in to inflict damage and steps out of range to avoid incoming fire.
After eight rounds of elusive offense, Muratalla landed a left hook to snap back Torres’ head, dropping him for a knockdown. Referee Celestino Ruiz didn't like what he saw when Torres got to his feet and waved off the fight at 1:45 of the round. Torres complained, but he had lost every round to that point.
Muratalla said, “That's what I'm here to do. I’m here to put on a show. Every day, I’m working hard to get these opportunities. And I’m showing out.
“We put in the hard work, man. I’m here to take out these opponents, and I can’t wait to see what’s next. I’m here to take whoever. Any champion. I hope my next fight is a title fight.” Trainer Robert Garcia agreed Muratalla was ready, “no matter who’s the world champion.”
When pressed, Muratalla named Devin Haney as the man he'd like to challenge. Haney first has business with Regis Prograis on December 9.
Undercard Fight Results: Lebron, Rebollar, Delgado, Moore, Sheehy Win
Puerto Rican southpaw Henry Lebron (19-0, 10 KOs) beat William Foster III of East Haven, Connecticut (16-1, 10 KOs) by majority decision. It was a highly competitive fight, with Lebron getting an early lead and Foster making a comeback until he took a left hook from Lebron, which slowed him down. Scores were 95-95, 96-94, and 99-91.
Angel Rebollar (8-3, 3 KOs) won an upset by unanimous decision over previously unbeaten Omar Rosario of Puerto Rico (11-1, 3 KOs). Rosario could not get his offense on track and wasn't effective enough to hold off Rebollar. All three scores were 78-74 for Rebollar.
Super lightweight Lindolfo Delgado of Mexico (19-0, 14 KOs) injected new energy into his career with his best victory as a pro. The 2016 Mexican Olympian stopped countryman Luis Hernandez (23-4, 20 KOs) with a spectacular fourth-round knockout, sending Hernandez reeling through the ropes. Delgado stunned Hernandez with a left uppercut, then ended the fight with combination punches to put Hernandez down at 1:53 of the round.
Heavyweight Brandon Moore of Lakeland, Florida (13-0, 8 KOs) won a unanimous decision over Robert Simms (12-4-1, 3 KOs) via an eight-round unanimous decision. Moore scored a knockdown of Simms with a chopping right hand in round four. All three scores read 80-71.
Antonio “El Gigante” Mireles of Des Moines, Iowa (8-0-1, 7 KOs) and Skylar Lacy of Indianapolis (7-0-1, 5 KOs) fought to a majority draw in their heavyweight fight. Lacy won the early rounds with his jab. Mireles won the final two rounds on all three judges' cards, but it was not enough. Scores were 58-56 for Lacy and 57-57 on the remaining cards.
Lightweight prospect Charlie Sheehy of Brisbane, California (8-0, 5 KOs) remained undefeated with a six-round unanimous decision over Jesus Vasquez Jr. of Denver (10-2, 2 KOs). Scores were all a shutout, 60-54 for Sheehy.
Gabriel Garcia of Pitsburg, California (10-0, 6 KOs) also won by six-round unanimous decision over Joshua Montoya of San Antonio (6-4-2) in their junior lightweight bout.
Middleweight prospect Javier Martinez of Milwaukee (9-0-1, 3 KOs) only needed one round to score three knockdowns and get a first-round knockout victory against Isaiah Wise of Philadelphia (11-3-2, 6 KOs).
Christian Avalos of Carson City, Nevada (1-1-2) defeated Estevan Partida of Merced, California (1-2-1) in a four-round majority decision in front of his hometown fans.