August 26: Efe Ajagba vs Zhan Kossobutskiy
Jared Anderson-Andriy Rudenko, Ajagba-Kossobutskiy & Jalolov-Ehwarieme will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT
Heavy-hitting Nigerian contender Efe Ajagba will take on unbeaten Kazakh southpaw Zhan Kossobutskiy in the 10-round co-feature on Saturday, August 26 at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa. Ajagba-Kossobutskiy will be the co-feature to the heavyweight showdown between Toledo-born phenom Jared Anderson and Andriy Rudenko.
Uzbek Olympic gold medalist Bakhodir Jalolov will make his Top Rank debut in the eight-round televised opener against Nigeria’s Onoriode Ehwarieme.Anderson-Rudenko, Ajagba-Kossobutskiy & Jalolov-Ehwarieme will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT
Ajagba vs Kossobutskiy
Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs), a 2016 Nigerian Olympian, has solidified himself as one of the division’s fiercest punchers. The 6-foot-6, 240-pound slugger debuted as a pro in July 2017 and secured six first-round knockouts in his first eight bouts. He suffered his first defeat in October 2021 against Frank Sanchez. Following the loss, Ajagba had surgery on both his elbows, returning in August 2022 to stop Hungarian veteran Jozsef Darmos in the second round. The 29-year-old is coming off a 10-round decision win against previously unbeaten contender Stephan Shaw in January.
“This is a great test for me as I continue my quest to become Nigeria’s next heavyweight champion," Ajagba said. “I am coming to Tulsa to score a devastating knockout and remind everyone what I’m capable of doing inside the ring.”
Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) is a 34-year-old southpaw from Kostanay, Kazakhstan. He has only gone the distance once in his career, a six-round decision win over Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko in September 2018. In 2021, he went 3-0 with three knockouts. In 2022, he dispatched former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in the fifth round and is coming off a third-round knockout over previously unbeaten contender Hussein Muhamed last November.
Kossobutskiy said, “I’m ready to make my debut in the United States against a very strong opponent. I want to show that I can beat the best in the heavyweight division, and to do that, you must overcome very tough challenges. I look forward to showing the world my abilities on August 26.”
Jalolov vs Ehwarieme
Jalolov (12-0, 12 KOs) represented Uzbekistan at the 2016 Olympics before turning pro in May 2018 with a third-round TKO over Hugo Trujillo. He built an 8-0 record before returning to the amateur ranks in the summer of 2021 to capture an Olympic gold medal. Jalolov then tallied four knockout wins in the paid ranks before continuing his remarkable amateur run in May with a gold medal at the 2023 World Championships in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The 29-year-old wrecking ball returns to the pro ranks following his fourth-round TKO over Curtis Harper last November.
Ehwarieme (20-2, 19 KOs) debuted as a professional with a decision win over Junior Maletino Iakopo in December 2010. He defeated his next 16 opponents by knockout, all within five rounds. He suffered his first loss against Rodney Hernandez in June 2019, but returned in December to stop Ariel Esteban Bracamonte via first-round knockout. Ehwarieme suffered a fourth-round stoppage loss against Kossobutskiy in February 2021, and he is 2-0 with two knockouts since. The 35-year-old, who represented Nigeria at the 2008 Olympics, blasted out Jeff Holcomb in only one round in February 2022.
ESPN+ streamed undercard
Rising featherweight Bruce “Shu Shu” Carrington (8-0, 5 KOs), the latest fistic talent to come from Brownsville, Brooklyn, will fight an opponent to be named in an eight-rounder. Carrington will make his fourth 2023 appearance following an eighth-round TKO win over Luis Porozo in June.
Undefeated middleweight prospect Nico Ali Walsh (8-0-1, 5 KOs), grandson of Muhammad Ali, will face Sona Akale (7-1, 4 KOs) in a six-rounder. Ali Walsh will fight in Tulsa for the third time as a pro following an eight-round draw against Danny Rosenberger on the Devin Haney-Vasiliy Lomachenko undercard.
19-year-old lightweight prodigy Abdullah Mason (9-0, 8 KOs) will make his fourth appearance of 2023 in a six-round duel. Mason was considered one of the brightest U.S. amateur talents before signing with Top Rank in October 2021. The southpaw returns after a second-round TKO win over Alex de Oliveira on July 1.
In a 10-round junior lightweight tilt, Filipino Olympian Charly Suarez (15-0, 9 KOs) will put his unbeaten record on the line against hard-hitting Dominican Yohan Vasquez (25-3, 20 KOs). Suarez heads to Tulsa following a 12th-round TKO win against then-unbeaten Australian Paul Fleming on enemy turf.
Kazakh Olympian Ablaikhan Zhussupov (3-0, 2 KOs) returns in a welterweight clash scheduled for eight rounds.
Promoted by Top Rank, in association with Holden Productions, tickets starting at $49.50 are on sale now at www.hardrockcasinotulsa.com
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