Efe Ajagba is eager to become Nigeria’s next heavyweight champion and he sees his clash against Zhan Kossobutskiy at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino Tulsa in Catoosa, United States on August 26 as a step on the journey.
The 10-round heavyweight contest will see the Nigerian faceoff against the Kazakh southpaw. The bout is set to be the co-feature on the card headlined by Anderson vs Rudenko, airing live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes, and via live stream on ESPN+.
The telecast opener will feature Olympic gold medalist Bakhodir Jalolov of Uzbekistan taking on another Nigerian Onoriode Ehwarieme. The bout is scheduled for eight rounds in the heavyweight division.
In the main event, Toledo, Ohio-born Jared Anderson will go head-to-head against Andriy Rudenko of Ukraine. The pair will also square off in a 10-round clash in the heavyweight division.
Ajagba (17-1, 13 KOs), a 2016 Olympian, has firmly established himself as one of the division’s most formidable punchers. Standing at 6-foot-6 and weighing 240 pounds, the slugger made his professional debut 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 underwent surgery on both of his elbows and made a triumphant return in August 2022, stopping Hungarian veteran Jozsef Darmos in the second round. The 29-year-old is now 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 secure a devastating knockout and remind everyone of what I am capable of doing inside the ring.”
Kossobutskiy (19-0, 18 KOs) is a 34-year-old southpaw from Kostanay, Kazakhstan. Throughout his career, he has only gone the distance once, earning a six-round decision win over Kostiantyn Dovbyshchenko in September 2018.
In 2021, he maintained an impressive record of 3-0, securing three knockouts. In 2022, he defeated former world title challenger Johann Duhaupas in the fifth round and is now coming off a third-round knockout victory over previously unbeaten contender Hussein Muhamed in November.
“I’m ready to make my debut in the United States against a very strong opponent,” Kossobutskiy said. “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 showcasing my abilities to the world on August 26.”