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Efe Ajagba interview: “I Can Beat Anthony Joshua With My Skills”

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“Skill would beat Joshua, not power”

Efe Ajagba is an unbeaten Nigerian heavyweight
Anthony Joshua’s long-held dream of fighting in Africa could be aided by the rising threat of another Nigerian heavyweight who plans to knock him off his perch.

Efe Ajagba has already plotted how he would dethrone Joshua, whose pride for his African heritage is worn in the form of a tattoo on his arm.

“The people would support Joshua because he is the heavyweight champ,” Ajagba tells Sky Sports but he is quickly establishing himself as a dangerous contender with vicious KO power who could become the perfect foil for Joshua to stage a fight against in Nigeria.

“Skill would beat Joshua, not power,” said the undefeated Ajagba. “Me and Joshua both have the power. But skills control the power.
“I have more skills.”

Surely Joshua, an Olympic gold medallist and two-time heavyweight champion, has his fair share of skill?

“I don’t think so,” Ajagba says. “The best weapon of Joshua’s is the left hook and right uppercut. He doesn’t have a good jab.
“I respect him. He is the heavyweight champion. I respect everything about him – his talent and his potential. He is a humble guy.
“People are saying that I talk Joshua down. But I don’t want to do that.
“Joshua is from Nigeria so he is a part of Africa, too.”
Joshua was inspired to reclaim his IBF, WBA and WBO titles from Andy Ruiz Jr last year after a trip to the Makoko slum in Nigeria, the African nation where his parents are from.
“They told me: ‘Make sure you go get those belts back’,” Joshua told Sky Sports at the time. “That is massively inspiring.”

He hopes to one day emulate Muhammad Ali by fighting in Africa but it is logistically difficult despite the clear interest. Ali beat George Foreman in ‘the Rumble in the Jungle’ in Zaire in 1974.

The emergence of a challenger like Ajagba can only benefit Joshua’s dream.
“Absolutely in the future,” Ajagba says of facing Joshua on African soil. “It would be perfect. Two Nigerian warriors fighting in a title fight.”
Heavyweight prospects are defined by their power but Ajagba, more than most, is carving out a reputation as a wrecking ball.

He is unbeaten in 13 and the only opponent to go the distance was Ali Eren Demirezen. That fight was Ajagba’s hardest examination so far – Demirezen had a better record, unbeaten in 10, before they met.
Curiously he plays down his knockout power insisting it is nothing special.

“I don’t think so. It’s not about me,” he says. “It’s about the way I throw my punch and how my opponent feels it.
“It’s not about power. Power comes from how you throw the punch, and how you land the punch. Move your legs into the punch, that’s where the power is.”

Ajagba is the youngest son of a boxer who initially discouraged him from following the same path. But trouble became too easy to find for a young and feisty Ajagba.

“I discovered boxing in Nigeria. I would fight on the streets and I always won,” he says. “So I started boxing.
“Fighting on the streets is different to boxing. I had natural power. I wasn’t fighting a boxer, I would fight bodybuilders. I wasn’t a boxer, he wasn’t a boxer. So I hit them, they fell. Boxing is different because fighters train everyday to get in the ring.”
At first he did not enjoy the discipline that came with boxing.
“No, not immediately. I had to take my time and think about it.
“When I started boxing they taught me foundations – how to move my legs, how to throw combinations.”

He was Nigeria’s only boxing representative at the 2016 Olympics and was eliminated by Ivan Dychko of Kazakhstan, who is now 9-0 as a pro but with none of the clamour attached to Ajagba’s rise.
He was scouted at the Olympics and brought to Houston, Texas, a city with a large Nigerian immigrant population to base his professional career.

Was it a hard transition?

“Not really. The environment is very different. I saw a different life when I came to America, a different community.
“The environment in America is beautiful. Nigeria is beautiful too, but America is a different culture.”

He worked with Ronnie Shields, who had previously trained Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield, and the opponents soon began to fall. Seven of his first eight fights were finished in a single round.
One of those remains among the strangest results in boxing history, although Ajagba does not find it funny.

His 2018 win against Curtis Harper was officially clocked at one second. The opening bell rang, Harper calmly exited the ring and walked backstage, never to be seen again.
The clip went viral, viewed millions of times in the days afterwards. It emerged Harper was protesting against his own promoter.
“I was mad and confused,” Ajagba says. “I didn’t know what was going on. Why did he walk out of the ring”

Anthony Joshua: only skills can beat him, says Ajagba


“I didn’t see him after the fight. But before the weigh-in, his girlfriend came to me and said: ‘Are you fighting Curtis Harper?’
“I didn’t know why she was asking me questions.
“She said: ‘You have the talent, you have the skills’.
“She came to me to ask me to take it easy in the fight!
“I can’t do that.
“Why did she ask me to take it easy?
“So when Curtis Harper walked out of the ring, I was mad and confused.”

The next stage of Ajagba’s development will be promoted by Bob Arum’s Top Rank. He has changed trainers to Kay Koroma, who also works with Shakur Stevenson and Jarrett Hurd, meaning he will be based out of Virginia.
Aged just 26 and with all of his fights coming in the USA, he is still a prospect being carefully managed through the heavyweight division.

There are issues to iron out – last December he was floored by Iago Kiladze, an opponent on a four-fight winless run, but recovered to avoid catastrophe. Earlier this year he needed nine rounds to get rid of Razvan Cojanu, who was beaten inside two rounds by Daniel Dubois.

Ajagba is hoping to make his Top Rank debut in September and promoter Bob Arum said: “He has immense physical tools and a great work ethic. I have the utmost confidence that we’re looking at a future heavyweight champion.”

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I’m a Liverpool Fan, Not Chelsea – Nnamdi Kanu to Court After Denying Him Bail

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Nnamdi Kanu, the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, Wednesday, informed a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja that he has been a fan of Liverpool Football Club since childhood.

Kanu disclosed this when Justice Binta Nyako jokingly asked him his favourite football team.

The IPOB leader said he had been a fan of Liverpool Football Club since he was seven, NAN reports.

The development occurred when Kanu’s lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, complained that the Department of State Services (DSS) had not been allowing him and other counsel enough time to meet with the IPOB leader whenever they visited him in detention.

The trial judge, Justice Binta Nyako, who reminded Ozekhome that he had once thanked the DSS in open court for procuring an orthopaedic mattress, pillow and others for his client, said she had already ordered that the security outfit should give Kanu moderate treatment and care while in detention like food, clothing, medicare, etc.

Then Nyako turned to Kanu and said despite her order for him to change his clothes, the IPOB leader continued to put on the same milk-colour designer wear.

The judge said though Kanu, on his own accord, keeps coming into the court with the same attire, she saw him in the media with other clothes.

The judge then jokingly said she was a Liverpool fan and asked Ozekhome if he was also a fan of a football club, and the senior lawyer answered in the affirmative.

Liverpool vs Chelsea

He said he was also a fan of Liverpool F.C.

Nyako then asked Kanu if he was a fan of Chelsea Football Club, going by the designer’s clothes he keeps wearing to court.

“What is your team?” she asked.

Kanu gently stood up in the dock and said: “My team is Liverpool even from the age of seven”.

The judge then told the DSS legal director, who was in court, to always allow Kanu to watch the matches of his favourite football club.

“You must allow the defendant to watch the matches any day they are playing,” she said, adding that she was going to make an order to that effect.

The DSS official, however, said his office had always given him access to watch.

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Ratcliffe’s £4.25 Billion Chelsea Bid  Rejected 

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CEO of the Ineos Group, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s bid to buy Chelsea has been “rejected out of hand”.

However, Sky Sports reports the 69-year-old remains interested in buying the Premier League club.

Ratcliffe, who is widely regarded to be Britain’s richest person, submitted a last-minute £4.25 billion bid to buy the Blues on Friday.

However, it is understood that Ratcliffe has not engaged in the process which has been out by the Raine Group and that makes it difficult for his bid to be considered.

A consortium led by American businessman Todd Boehly has been picked as the preferred bidders by the Raine Group.

They have until the end of this week to finalise the terms of an agreement to buy the club.

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Victor Osimhen to Manchester United?

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The race to snap up the Nigerian international from the grasp of Napoli may have been cranked up by the Red Devils

Italian publication La Repubblica (via Napolipiu) claims that Manchester United have made a sensational 100 million euros bid to Napoli for their Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen.

Osimhen is presently the most expensive African transfer after his over 80 million euros move to Napoli from Lille two years ago.

And the former Golden Eaglets star could smash that record should Napoli accept Man United’s offer, which would also make him one of the club’s most expensive signings.

According to the reports, Napoli owner Aurelio De Laurentiis has held a secret meeting with Victor Osimhen’s agent Roberto Calenda at the Castel Volturno to discuss the offer. Napoli does not consider Osimhen non-transferable, while the Super Eagles star favours a Premier League switch.

Arsenal and Newcastle United are among the English clubs interested in Osimhen, with the Magpies possessing the financial strength to battle with Man United for Osimhen’s signature.

Osimhen has 16 goals in all competitions for Napoli despite his many injuries and suspensions.

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