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  Efe Ajagba vs. Stephan Shaw & Guido Vianello
vs. Jonnie Rice Final Press Conference


The Top Rank on ESPN 2023 schedule kicks off with a heavyweight doubleheader Saturday at Turning Stone Resort Casino.

In the 10-round main event, thunderous puncher Efe Ajagba (16-1, 13 KOs) looks upend the unbeaten run of St. Louis native Stephan "Big Shot" Shaw (18-0, 13 KOs).

The 10-round co-feature sees 2016 Italian Olympian Guido "The Gladiator" Vianello (10-0-1, 9 KOs) stepping up against noted spoiler Jonnie Rice (15-6-1, 10 KOs). Ajagba-Shaw and Vianello-Rice will be broadcast live on ESPN, ESPN Deportes and ESPN+ at 10 p.m ET/7 p.m. PT.

The undercard ó streaming live and exclusively on ESPN+ at 5:30 p.m. ET/2:3-0 p.m. PT ó features a 50/50 junior lightweight bout between contenders Abraham "El Super" Nova (21-1, 15 KOs) and Adam "BluNose" Lopez (16-3, 6 KOs), upstate New York-born junior welterweight prospect Bryce Mills (10-1, 4 KOs), and Brooklyn-born featherweight sensation Bruce "Shu Shu" Carrington (5-0, 3 KOs).

At Thursday's press conference, this is what the fighters had to say.

Efe Ajagba


ďI have the name ĎThe Silent Rollerí because I donít talk much. Since I came back from my surgery, Iíve tried to do everything to fight more. Thatís why I only had one fight last year. Iíve been trying to get more fights.Ē

ďIíve made adjustments for Saturday night. Weíll see how it goes. Iím ready for him. I wanted to fight Oscar Rivas before. But that changed. But now Shaw has the opportunity to fight me.Ē

ďIt means a lot to me to represent my country. I just want to be like them [Samuel Peter and Henry Akinwande]. Ever since I started boxing, Iíve tried to be like them.Ē

ďIím ready to put on a show. Iím going to put more pressure. I canít wait. Iím so excited to be here.Ē

Stephan Shaw


ďI want to thank God for giving me this opportunity. To have that pedigree behind meóthat carries me. Thatís my foundation, and I go off that. St. Louis has a rich history of boxing. And I feel like right now Iím the pride of St. Louis. Iím looking to continue that legacy of having great world champions represent St. Louis, Missouri.Ē

ďIíve got God on my side. God makes all the situations that I have faced in my entire career and He has made it work. I have faced adversity that the average man wouldnít be able to deal with. Coming from St. Louis, beating the odds and being on this stage to have my moment. I feel great. Iím excited.Ē

ďIím a third-generation fighter. Iím looking to become a world champion. Saturday night, Iím going to make my mark.Ē

Guido Vianello


ďI was happy to fight in my country, but Iím happy to fight here as well because America is my second home. My last opponent was very tough. I got him with a lot of punches. It was incredible because I have my gladiator style and he had a wild style. So, it was good for the Italian people.Ē

ďJonnie has a lot of experience, more than me. But Iím ready. Iíve been training very hard. Iíve been training very hard for four years since I moved to the USA. I train all the time to fight in a war, so Iím ready for this.Ē

Jonnie Rice


ďThis means the world to me right now. Itís another chance to beat another undefeated fighter. And thatís whatís on my mind. Iím going to go in there and beat him.Ē

ďA big reason I moved to Las Vegas is to constantly be in the mindset of boxing, constantly be in the mindset of the grind. Iíve had the great chance to work with a lot of heavyweight warriors who came through Vegas and kept me rejuvenated and constantly inspired. I really donít think that ring rust will play a part.Ē

Abraham Nova


ďEvery fight is a must-win fight. Thereís not a fight that I take for granted. This is a good opportunity for me to showcase my skills and move up in the rankings.Ē

ďI took a lot of things from the defeat {to Robeisy Ramirez}. But the main thing I learned is that I have to be more healthy as a fighter and do the right things as a fighter. I just need to be more healthy. It was a good opportunity, and a win here will put me in a better position for bigger fights.Ē

Adam Lopez


ďThis is a big fight for me. Iím moving up to the next weight class. I fought at 130 before when I fought Oscar [Valdez], but now Iím officially a 130-pounder. I feel like Iíve grown into it. Itís definitely a big fight. Nova and I are kind of in the same spot with our careers. He needs it, and I need it. Iím excited for it. Itís definitely, in my eyes, a Fight of the Year candidate type of fight.Ē

Bryce Mills


ďIím blessed. Itís been three and a half years since Iíve fought at home. Itís a great opportunity. Iím really excited. Thereís nothing like that hometown support and that hometown energy when youíre in the ring. It adds a different level of intensity and enthusiasm to the fight.Ē



 

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